Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni believes Leeds midfielder Paul Green could be Ireland’s answer to Gennaro Gattuso.
Trapattoni has preferred Green, not universally popular among fans and pundits, to Wigan’s James McCarthy for his side’s vital World Cup qualifier in Sweden.
Trapattoni reasons that he wants the extra combative qualities of Green to provide balance as he encourages the likes of Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson to attack on the flanks.
Green’s presence in squads has often divided opinion with many doubting his ability to perform at international level.
But the 29-year-old has been a favourite of the Italian boss, who has compared him to Italian hardman Gennaro Gattuso in the past and has now added England World Cup winner Stiles to that list.
Trapattoni, who named his line-up at a press conference at the Friends Arena, said: “International games are a little bit different physically, in attitude, mentality, personality.
“If we are to have this balance, if Coleman goes (forward), I said we must also push the defensive line. We have to stay in this position.
“Paul Green has the attitude. There are famous names – Gattuso.
“He was the player with character and attitude. He won the league and Champions League.
“There have been players in England. Remember Nobby Stiles?
“They are players who were not full of class like (Lionel) Messi, but football is not only this.
“We have to think about the balance. I can also change after I see how the game develops. We can also change.”
Trapattoni had hinted at Green’s selection alongside Glenn Whelan in midfield in training sessions throughout the week but he insists 22-year-old McCarthy remains in his thoughts for the game.
He said: “McCarthy is in the squad. He plays well, but we are playing away and I have seen so many games of Sweden.
“There are players who give time to other players. James is not this typical player.
“He is young enough and maybe in one year or two years he will be better than Whelan.”
Ireland go into the game a point behind second-placed Sweden in Group C.
Sweden in turn trail leaders Germany by three points but both they and Ireland have a game in hand.
Other notable decisions by Trapattoni will see Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark partner John O’Shea in central defence and Millwall goalkeeper David Forde make his first competitive start.
West Brom striker Shane Long will partner captain and record goalscorer Robbie Keane in attack following the decision to leave out Wolves’ Kevin Doyle.
Hull’s Robbie Brady was named on the wing but Trapattoni revealed he had a slight doubt over him in a psychological sense and challenged the 21-year-old to prove he was ready.
Trapattoni said: “There is no injury but I want to be sure.
“I spoke with him. I said: ’Are you sure, are you okay?’ He said: ’Yes’.
“I wish to push him. Brady is creative. He can put the opponents in difficulty.
“He showed (this) against Poland, going inside. He is clever and I told him, ’You must repeat this game’.
“It is my provocation. He will now see in the newspaper tomorrow he is a doubt. It is only psychological.”
The presence of Brady, Coleman, Wilson and Green gives the Irish side a different look but Trapattoni is keen to evolve team following last summer’s Euro 2012 failure.
He said: “In the last friendly game against Poland we (showed we) are changing slowly.
“These young players give me confidence, give me trust about what they can do.
“It is important they play how I know they can. I see them not only training but with their clubs.
“We are not great individual players like Messi, or with Sweden (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic.
“But we are a good team with good balance, good attitude. We are very practical and technical.
“I am confident for this. Every day when I see the team in training I am happy for my side. We must play our game.”
Ireland were thrashed 6-1 by Germany earlier in the campaign and are now, most realistically, in a battle for second place with Sweden and their opponents next Tuesday, Austria.
Trapattoni said: “The next match will obviously be very important for our qualification.
“It will be important to keep in mind there is only one point between us and Sweden in our pool.
“As always every little detail is important to achieve the result.”
The match in the Swedish capital is set to be played under the retractable roof at the Friends Arena with temperatures as low as minus nine degrees forecast during the game.
Trapattoni said: It is cold but for me it would be better open.
“But there are spectators and FIFA can decide.
“We have to play 90 minutes with it closed or open.”