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Trap coy on Dunne double jobbing

With his media duties completed yesterday, Giovanni Trapattoni sat sipping a cup of tea at a Dublin Airport hotel watching in admiration at Mayo’s second-half destruction of Tyrone.

Opportune, then, that the Italian is calling upon an own old reliable, Richard Dunne, for the veritable "All-Ireland" his team face when Sweden rock up for the crucial World Cup qualifier in 11 days.

Only last month Dunne seemed a long shot to even feature again at international level when omitted from the squad for the friendly against Wales, yet Trapattoni was suitably convinced by the 33-year-old’s showing for QPR at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday to declare the centre-back will be tasked with shackling Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the Aviva Stadium.

Just like Mayo boss James Horan, however, Trapattoni possesses the ability to see around corners, so doesn’t foresee Dunne’s battle-hardened body coping with the demands of playing a second qualifier four days later in Vienna against Austria.

"You have probably anticipated some of my thoughts," replied a smiling Trapattoni when the suggestion of reverting to the John O’Shea/Ciarán Clark central defensive axis for the second installment of the double-header was broached by reporters.

"Sometimes a manager keeps things to themselves to see what happens in training. But that is a good observation.

"We play on September 6 and again on September 10. Maybe he [Dunne] has not recovered his energy in time. And the Austria strikers are different to Sweden’s – one is big but the other is quick."

Though its two years on and a period during which he’s been mostly out injured, Dunne will be required to replicate his heroics from Moscow to quieten Sweden’s talisman Ibrahimovic who bagged a hat-trick a fortnight ago in the 4-2 friendly victory over Norway.

Trapattoni has set a four-point target from the qualifiers against the two nations Ireland are deadlocked with on 11 points in the chase for a play-off to Brazil next year.

He remains confident against the Swedes of ending his unwanted record of not beating a higher ranked nation in a competitive match during his five years in the job.

"All that’s been missing from this team is international experience," he asserts. "The players showed in the friendlies against England and Spain this summer that they are not inferior."

Indeed, while he sat alongside another wily boss, Roy Hodgson, at Goodison Park on Saturday, the England manager spoke of his yearning for Trapattoni’s established right-back, Seamus Coleman.

"He respects that Coleman is a box-to-box player," said Trapattoni. "We agreed that he has quality and can grow again in this position."

Coleman’s Everton team-mate Darron Gibson wasn’t sought out for reconciliation talks on the manager’s visit to Merseyside. In fact, the rift between the pair has seemingly widened. "We have enough midfielders," he snapped, quashing any prospect of Gibson featuring in a green jersey anytime soon.

One player Trapattoni is willing to persevere with is the uncapped Anthony Pilkington. Unlike his previous five call-ups, the Norwich City man will report for duty this time, according to Trap.

"I talked to him by SMS on Friday and he hopes to be fit," said Trapattoni of the man whose knee injury prevented him making the bench for Saturday’s trip to Hull City Tigers.

Pilkington’s chances of featuring against Sweden, should he turn up, look a lot more promising than Robbie Brady’s, despite him scoring the winner for the Tigers at the weekend.

For all his undoubted talent, the 21-year-old hasn’t reached the workrate level Trapattoni insists upon from his wide men and may be lurching towards the bold corner first occupied by Andy Reid.

"Some players sing, while others carry the cross," he said. "You must go and work. Creative players don’t usually have this habit as they only play violin.

"Brady is creative but Sweden have a right-back [Martin] Lustig who is like Coleman. If you don’t run back, he will go and make a cross."

Provisional 29-man squad: Forde, Westwood, Randolph, O’Shea, O’Brien, St Ledger, Wilson, Coleman, Kelly, O’Dea, Clark, Dunne, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy, Green, Hendrick, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Brady, Meyler, Hoolahan, Long, Keane, Sammon, Walters, Madden, Cox.