Gibson rejects request to replace Meyler in Ireland squad

Darron Gibson has turned down a late request to join the Irish squad for tomorrow’s match against Poland after David Meyler’s withdrawal with a knee injury left Giovanni Trapattoni short of midfield options.

Gibson, who stepped back from international duty following his disappointment at not playing at Euro 2012, told the Irish management that he would not be able to answer this latest call because he is only one game back for Everton after a thigh injury and is currently with his club in Malaga for a warm-weather training camp.

Speaking at the squad’s training base in Malahide yesterday, assistant manager Marco Tardelli said he feels Gibson is agreeable to the idea of resuming his international career and added that he would be welcomed back into the squad when he fit enough to return.

“We spoke with Gibson but he told us he is not available because he has played just the one match and now he is in Malaga for the training,” he said.

“Not holiday, for the training! We spoke also with his physio and he told us there is a little problem.

“For us it’s important that the players who come here are fit.”

Tardelli said Trapattoni would decide if there was a need to have a face to face discussion with Gibson to clarify his international long-term intentions though, for his part, the assistant manager clearly thinks the onus in this regard is on the player rather than the management.

“It’s not my habit or Giovanni’s,” he said,” and I don’t think (Alex) Ferguson goes to speak with the player to understand if he wants to play or not. If you want to play, then come. For me, that’s my opinion. But Giovanni might have another opinion.”

For all that, Tardelli went on to suggest that there should be no impediment to Gibson returning to the Irish squad for the World Cup qualifiers in March.

“Yes, why not?” he said. “Always when we need a player and the player wants to come with the Irish team, we are very happy. I don’t understand why this problem exists. It’s not my problem, it’s not Gibson’s problem. And it’s no problem to come for another match. It’s no problem for us or for him.”

The FAI last night confirmed that Leeds midfielder Paul Green has been called up in place of Meyler and links up with the squad for training in Malahide this morning.

With John O’Shea set to play in the centre of the defence against Poland tomorrow night, Ireland now have just one recognised right-back available in Paul McShane.

However, the management have declined to revisit their decision to leave Reading’s Stephen Kelly out of the original squad, Tardelli saying yesterday that Trapattoni’s original explanation – that he wanted to rest the player and look at new options — still applies. Kelly’s position in the Ireland squad has been the subject of much media speculation since it was widely reported that he’d had a falling out with the management prior to the October World Cup qualifier in the Faroe Islands.

On the opposite flank, Bristol City’s Greg Cunningham looks set to feature against the Poles, a belated resumption of a senior international career for the young Galwegian whose progress while at Manchester City was blighted by injury.

“He deserves to play because he started to play with us two years ago and after that he had a little problem with his knee,” said Tardelli.

“I saw him many times and he’s fit so it’s possible he can start on Wednesday. He is technically good, not strong physically but very tough. He shoots very well. He’s good for us.”

At the other end of the pitch, Tardelli has backed Kevin Doyle to get through a frustrating time in his career.

“I know very well Kevin, he is a very clever player and person and we speak always,” said the Italian. “This is a particular moment for him but in football everything can change in one second and it’s possible for him to go back to like when he started with us. For him, it’s no problem.”

For his part, the striker admits to being baffled about why Wolves find themselves struggling in the Championship.

Having seen Celtic fail in their bid to land him on loan, Doyle reckons that he’s got to be pragmatic about his situation at embattled Wolves.

“It’s an easy way out for people to say that I need something fresh and different,” he said.

“There’s no point in thinking whether you would like a new challenge or not. I have a good contract and two and half years left on it. There’s no point in thinking about it, just get on with it.”

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