True to his word, Kerr gives Harte another chance

IAN HARTE has finally been handed an international reprieve despite a bust-up earlier in the season with Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr.

Although not included in a 22-man squad for the Jackie McNamara testimonial with Celtic at Parkhead on May 29 - due to club commitments with Levante - Harte is to link up with the party two days later ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Israel and the Faroe Islands.

Just over three months ago, though, it appeared Harte had played his final match under Kerr after claiming he was being deliberately frozen out of the Republic picture.

Ahead of a friendly against Portugal in early February, left-back Harte was critical of Kerr as he had not been in any Republic squad since a surprise summer move to Spanish side Levante in the wake of former club Leeds’ relegation from the Premier League.

Harte stated he had tried and failed on numerous occasions to contact Kerr, and instead was forced to leave messages that went unreturned, maintaining the situation was “a joke” and that he deserved respect from his international manager.

Kerr refuted all the allegations and simply commented Harte would again come under due consideration when he returned to fitness as the 27-year-old was out injured at the time of his comments after undergoing a groin operation.

Kerr has been true to his word as Harte now comes into contention for the Group Four games with the Israelis at Lansdowne Road on June 4 and against the Faroes in Torshavn four days later.

Harte will be joined in the Republic set-up on May 31 by Steve Finnan, who is being given time off from the game with Celtic as he will probably feature in the Champions League final for Liverpool against AC Milan a few days earlier.

Kerr confirmed: “After they have completed their club commitments Ian Harte and Steve Finnan will join up with the squad on May 31 as we prepare for the Israel and Faroe games.”

Meanwhile the Republic of Ireland remain in 15th place in FIFA’s world rankings, issued yesterday afternoon by the world governing body.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS (Top 15): 1. Brazil, 2. Czech Republic, 3. Argentina , 4. France, 5. Netherlands, 6. England, 7. Mexico, 8. Spain, 9. Portugal , 10. Italy, 11 .United States, 12. Greece, 13. Sweden, 14. Turkey, 15. Ireland REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD: S Given (Newcastle) , P Kenny (Sheffield United), J Murphy (West Bromwich Albion), S Carr (Newcastle United), G Breen (Sunderland), A O’Brien (Newcastle), K Cunningham (Birmingham) , J O’Shea (Manchester United), A Maybury (Leicester), L Miller (Manchester United), Roy Keane (Manchester United), M Holland (Charlton), A Reid (Tottenham), S Reid (Blackburn), A Quinn (Sheffield United), K Kilbane (Everton), G Kavanagh (Wigan), D Duff (Chelsea), R Keane (Tottenham), S Elliott (Sunderland), G Doherty (Norwich), C Morrison (Birmingham).

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