Monday 18 December 2017

Trapattoni to run the rule over Ireland's young guns in Uruguay tie

Giovanni Trapattoni. Photo: Sportsfile
Giovanni Trapattoni. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

GIOVANNI Trapattoni may break from his favoured 4-4-2 system for tomorrow night's friendly with Uruguay due to a shortage of striking options.

The Irish boss is preparing to take on last summer's World Cup semi-finalists with a makeshift side after allowing Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane, Damien Duff and Kevin Kilbane leave the camp following Saturday's 2-1 win over Macedonia.

Add in Kevin Doyle's unfortunate medial ligament injury, and it means that the 72-year-old is down to just 17 players for the encounter with the South Americans. Anthony Stokes and Cillian Sheridan have been placed on standby although the latter, based in Bulgaria with CSKA Sofia, only learned of that news via Twitter.

Trapattoni doesn't seem too worried about the shortage of bodies but with Shane Long and Andy Keogh the only two front men present, it is quite likely that Ireland will play the majority of the game with James McCarthy operating in a floating role behind a lone front man, meaning a possible switch to 4-5-1.


The Italian said he would finalise his thoughts on his formation overnight but after suggesting McCarthy is a classic number 10 -- even comparing him to greats Michel Platini, Gianni Rivera and Sandro Mazzola -- it would be unusual if he opted to use the 20-year-old in a different role.

Stephen Kelly -- who may skipper the side -- is in line to replace Dunne alongside Darren O'Dea at centre-half, with Ciaran Clark favoured at left-back although Kelly and Clark could easily swap positions in that eventuality.

Keith Fahey and Liam Lawrence were also namechecked as Trapattoni discussed possible changes, with Glenn Whelan set to be rested after a hectic run of games of late.

Trapattoni explained his reasons for letting the senior players go. He had flagged it before the game, with Keane the only surprising departure in the context of his lack of match practice.

"I spoke to Robbie after the game and I said he could play for 20 or 30 minutes, but I suggested it was better he go and spend time with his family," said Trapattoni.

"This is a chance for me to evaluate the younger players, and see how they behave against a very technical team.

"If we hadn't won, I wouldn't have allowed them (senior players) to go home because they would have been good to have around for the morale, for extra support."

Kevin Kilbane was on the bench yesterday to see Huddersfield's win over Notts County.

Irish Independent

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