Stokes left out of Irish U-21 squad

ANTHONY STOKES remains in the international wilderness after the on-loan Sheffield United striker was once again left out of a Don Givens Under 21 squad.

Givens was in Cork yesterday to publicise the forthcoming friendly against Germany in Turner’s Cross on February 10.

And it emerged yesterday the Dubliner, who has made 10ten appearances during his stint away from Sunderland since his three-month loan to the Blades began in October, has burnt his bridges with Given possibly leading to consequences for his international career.

Stokes and Givens first fell out in August 2007, the last time an Irish U-21 side faced Germany (in Furth) when the forward failed to show up at the airport. He also failed to show when selected for last May’s Inter Continental Cup in Malaysia.

“He’s still of age but he’s not considered for the squad,” said Givens. “He let us down on a couple of occasions.

“Roy Keane took the flak for (2007). He apologised and I’d say it hurt Roy to do that because it was Stokesie who was the problem. Roy covered it up just to keep a lid on it. But then he let us down again.

“He wasn’t involved in the last couple of squads. It had escaped journalists because they probably thought he was part of the senior group whereas in actual fact, he is of age but there’s an issue there that I haven’t been able to solve.

“It doesn’t favour him for his senior prospects. One thing about Giovanni Trapattoni is his professionalism so straight away you can imagine that him letting us down twice is not a plus.”

However, Givens was at pains to talk about the players he does have. The Cork public will get to see the much-hyped James McCarthy while another first generation Irishman, Dutch-born Barry Maguire, an Utrecht defender with an Irish father, is also trying Ireland out for size.

“The fact Barry Maguire wants to come in with us is huge,” he admitted. “He’s already played for Holland at U-18 and U-19. It’s a real positive for us. In a way it’s up to us to impress so that he throws his lot in with us.”

The German game will mark the official opening of the newly developed St Anne’s End stand at Turner’s Cross.

“It’s a great opportunity to play one of the big sides,” added Givens. “It’s also fantastic to be able to play them in Cork where we great support.It seems the logical thing to bring the big boys down where we get the big support.”

Prior to that, the draw for the initial qualifying tournament of the 2011 Championship will be made in Aarhus, Denmark next Wednesday.

“We’ll hoping for a bit of luck in that. We didn’t get too much last time. But when you’re going in as fourth seed, it’s always going to be difficult.”

Meanwhile, Cork City last night confirmed the signing of 24-year-old Bosnian Fahrudin Kuduzovic, manager Paul Doolin’s second recruit from former club Drogheda United. And Tralee-born Billy Dennehy signed for the club on a free transfer from Derry.

Tickets for the match are available from Ticketmaster and are priced 15 for adults and 5 for children under the age of 16.

Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad v Germany (Tuesday, February, 10): S Redmond (Nottingham Forest); S Henderson (Bristol City); M Spillane (Norwich City); E Nolan (capt) (Preston North End); S Lowry (Aston Villa); B Moloney (Nottingham Forest); C Fagan (Glenn Hoddle Academy); B Maguire (FC Utrecht); JJ O’Toole (Watford); S Gleeson (Wolverhampton Wanderers); J McCarthy (Hamilton Academicals); O Garvan (Ipswich Town); M Liddle (Carlisle United); A Judge (Blackburn Rovers); D Meyler (Sunderland); G Carey (Celtic); C Sheridan (Celtic); S Scannell (Crystal Palace).

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