Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni will not throw his young players in at the deep end as he attempts to nurse a new generation through to the senior international stage.
The 74-year-old Italian was thrilled by the performances of full-back Seamus Coleman and midfielder James McCarthy in Wednesday night’s 1-1 friendly draw with England at Wembley, with both men having now established themselves in his first-choice starting line-up.
Both men have emerged from the ranks as Trapattoni has attempted to increase the pool of talent available to him during his five years at the helm, and that process is ongoing with his coaching staff having identified further youngsters with potential.
However, assistant manager Marco Tardelli insists that the stars of the future will have to remain patient and learn their trade before they can follow in the footsteps of the Everton defender and the Wigan playmaker.
Asked if there are more young players waiting to make the step up – Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady and James McClean are already squad members – he said: “I hope so for the Irish team because it is very important that the young players grow.
“In the under-21s, there are good players, but at this moment, it’s better for us to try the other players, like Hendrick.
“It’s very important that the team improves together, but not with too many young players because it’s not easy.
“We have young players – we have McCarthy and Coleman who have just played against England at Wembley.
“For us, it was very important because playing at Wembley is very, very tough, and they showed us that they have good personality.
“The players learned that they are good players. We have very young players who improved a lot against England and we know now we have a team for the future.”
In the shorter term, Trapattoni’s main focus is next Friday’s World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands in Dublin, and he will use Sunday’s friendly encounter with Georgia at the Aviva Stadium to finalise his plans for the Group C minnows.
The manager has already indicated that midfielder Glenn Whelan will be rested ahead of the qualifier, while goalkeeper David Forde, who trained in the gym today after appearing with his right knee heavily bandaged in the wake of the England game, is likely to sit out too.
But Marc Wilson is expected to be involved after missing out in London with a persistent hamstring problem, but having now trained for the last two days.
A successful negotiation of that game would put him in line to start at left-back in the qualifier, although that would be his last game of the post-season campaign with a scheduled operation to remove a metal plate from his leg meaning he will not travel to New York with the rest of the squad for their glamour clash with Spain.
McCarthy and striker Shane Long, who scored Ireland’s goal at Wembley, are both suspended for the game against the Faroes, so could be used on Sunday to protect men who will figure on Friday, while Richard Dunne’s prospects of a run-out for the first time in a year grow by the day.
Tardelli said: “Richard Dunne is fit. Against Georgia, it is possible he plays a few minutes. I don’t know if it will be in the first half or the second, but it’s possible he plays.”
However, Hull winger Brady is due to head home tomorrow after being ruled out of all three matches with a groin problem.
Tardelli said: “Robbie Brady has a little problem and I think tomorrow, he will go back home.
“It’s not a very big problem, but it is better we don’t take a risk.”