FAI attempt to secure the release of Kohlman

THE FAI are involved in a tug-of-war with German authorities over the availability of Borussia Dortmund player Patrick Kohlman for Monday’s U-21 friendly international between Ireland and Germany in Turners Cross.

Kohlmann has played under Brian Kerr at youth level, is currently in the midst of his military service in Germany.

The 21-year-old Dortmund midfielder, who has an Irish mother, works with handicapped children in his civil military role and had arranged for other people to take over his duties during the time he hoped to be away with the Irish U-21 squad.

“The authorities wouldn’t let him leave because they said he hadn’t given the required two months notice that he needed some time off,” said Irish U-21 manager Don Givens yesterday. “However, we have enlisted the help of the German FA and they are doing everything they can to ensure Patrick is released.

“He is a very promising young player and I was looking forward to getting a look at him in this game. And of course, Patrick wants to play in this game, too, considering it is against Germany and is against a number of players he knows very well, and has played against in the past.”

Most of the German squad are a similar age to Kohlmann, and have had no trouble securing release for Monday’s game. It’s a headache Givens could do without heading into Monday’s game, having already lost highly-rated Manchester United full-back Paul Tierney, Stockport County’s talented striker Jon Daly and home-grown talent like Noel Hunt and Steven Gray for the friendly.

Kohlmann first represented Ireland in an U-18 international in Rotterdam in May 1999, but has yet to play for the U-21s. Givens has drafted Bolton’s Jonathan Walters, Scarborough’s Keith Gilroy and highly-rated Spurs defender Stephen Kelly in as replacements. Celtic’s Liam Miller will skipper the team.

Graham Barrett, another member of Givens’ squad, was expected to sign as a Coventry City player last night. The striker, who has failed to make an impact at Highbury, was at Highfield Road for a medical yesterday.

Meanwhile, there was bad news for Gary Kelly yesterday as he was released by Sheffield United. Neil Warnock had brought Kelly in as cover for Irish keeper Paddy Kenny during the Blades’ unsuccessful promotion chase in March.

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