John O’Shea’s version of Lanigan’s Ball has concluded with confirmation that the Sunderland defender is out of the friendly game against Croatia in Dublin this day week.
And, as he announced his final 25 man squad for the match, Giovanni Trapattoni revealed that Aiden McGeady, Liam Lawrence, Kevin Kilbane, Paul McShane and Kevin Foley have also withdrawn, with the manager’s blessing. From the original squad of 32, it means that only Aston Villa’s Ciarán Clark has been deliberately left out of the slimmed down panel, apparently on the grounds that Trapattoni intends to look at other options during the game.
Wolves’s Stephen Ward is now the leading candidate to take Kevin Kilbane’s place at left-back and, indeed, to challenge the veteran defender for a starting place in the long-term.
Trapattoni had long been expecting to have to do without O’Shea who is trying to recover from a hamstring injury in time to feature in his new club’s start to the Premiership season having moved to Sunderland from Manchester United.
The Ireland manager had already indicated that he was wary of risking the player in a friendly game, in light of the crunch European qualifiers coming up next month in Dublin and Moscow. However, O’ Shea raised hopes that he might play a part against Croatia by contacting Trapattoni on Sunday to say he was making himself available.
However, yesterday he was back in touch, following consultations with the physios at the Stadium Of Light, to confirm that he wouldn’t now be able to come in for next Wednesday’s game.
Trapattoni said: “I intend to use the game against Croatia at the Aviva Stadium next week to have the confirmation of a few options ahead of our September matches against Slovakia and Russia. Liam Lawrence and Kevin Kilbane have been excused for club commitments while John O’Shea, Aiden McGeady, Paul Mc Shane and Kevin Foley have picked up injuries and will also be excused.”
The 25 man squad for the game against Croatia on August 10 is: Given, Westwood, Forde, Coleman, S Kelly, Ward, Dunne, St Ledger, O’Dea, Delaney, Whelan, Gibson, Andrews, Fahey, Keogh, Duff, Hunt, McCarthy, Treacy, Wilson, Keane, Doyle, Walters, Long, Cox.