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Sunderland star in Euros frame

COULD James McClean make a late run for inclusion in Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for Euro 2012?

The winger would need to be called up to the February friendly with the Czech Republic and make a big impression given that it's the only match between now and the summer.

There's a lot of competition in the wide roles, but Ireland's major tournament history shows that a surprise package can sneak up the rails.

1990 World Cup: Alan McLoughlin

The midfielder thought it was a wind-up when he got a call from Maurice Setters to join World Cup preparations in 1990, effectively on the strength of club performances for Swindon in the English second tier and an Irish 'B' appearance.

1994 World Cup: Gary Kelly, Phil Babb, Jason McAteer

The young trio had played no part in Ireland's qualifying campaign, but they were thrown into a March friendly against Russia by Jack Charlton and went on to play a prominent role in that summer's finals in the United States.

2002 World Cup: Steven Reid

The young Millwall midfielder made his debut in August 2001 against Croatia, but it was still something of a surprise that he forced his way into the picture for the trip to Japan and Korea.

Irish Independent