Friday 20 April 2018

Wilson and Brady provide injection of fresh blood for do-or-die clash

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

MARC WILSON and Robbie Brady will make their first competitive starts for Ireland in tonight's clash with the Faroes.

They come in for Stephen Ward and Simon Cox respectively, with Keith Fahey also dropped as the visitors switch to a 4-4-2 to facilitate the return of skipper Robbie Keane.

With discussion dominated by the manager's future, there was little time to elaborate on the reasons behind his decision in yesterday's curtailed press conference.

The Irish boss suggested on Saturday that Wolves defender Ward was vulnerable after the German encounter.

The Portmarnock lad struggled in Euro 2012 but he wasn't the worst member of the Irish rearguard in Friday's thrashing. Darren O'Dea took that dubious honour, yet his centre-half partnership with John O'Shea gets another chance.

Trapattoni says that Ward has suffered with a minor knee problem. However, he took a full part in training and, instead, this decision gives overdue recognition to Wilson, a Premier League regular at left-back for Stoke.

quality

"Wilson is a natural alternative," said Trapattoni. "He has good technical quality and he is also a bit fresh. We need the players to be fresh, and two or three changes could be very important."

Wilson has a chequered history with Trapattoni. He angered management by failing to show up for the 2011 summer gathering. The Northern Irish-born player was selected against the country of his birth for a Carling Nations Cup tie, but never showed.

After pulling out of the next squad, a long exile followed. When Trap was asked to explain his absence, he insinuated that the player had been involved in a disciplinary issue.

That perplexed Wilson, and the Italian subsequently -- and bizarrely -- clarified that he was referring to someone else.

Bridges were built ahead of Euro 2012 when Trapattoni called the versatile performer to say he had missed out on the squad but was in his thoughts. Tonight, he gets an opportunity in a meaningful game.

Brady (20) is also given time to add to his positive cameo on Friday, where he set up the last-minute consolation goal for Andy Keogh. The Dubliner made his Manchester United debut recently as a substitute and gained plenty of experience at Hull last season.

Brady made his first Irish senior appearance in last month's friendly win over Oman, where he linked up well with right-back Seamus Coleman.

They have another chance together here in a team with just four starting players from the preferred Euro 2012 line-up.

Irish Independent

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