ALTHOUGH he won’t name his team until later today, Giovanni Trapattoni has already all but confirmed Paul Green will make his competitive debut for Ireland in Armenia tomorrow.
Revealing he had looked at both the Derby County man and Darron Gibson playing alongside Glenn Whelan in training, the Ireland manager yesterday declared: “I can say 60% it will be Paul Green.”
And the Italian said he had no qualms about putting a player of no top-flight club and limited international experience into the opening game of the European Championship qualifiers.
“I think we had also in the past many players, four or five, who have only experience in England in the second league,” he pointed out, “and it’s important when they understand immediately our system and what I ask them to do. Paul Green showed us, not only with Argentina, but also in his first two games, how well he can play.
“He is confident, he has good personality, he’s quick and I like his mentality. We have other players too, because we have Gibson, and also (Keith) Fahey. Don’t forget Fahey because he has a good personality. Now I am happy, because I am now confident we have the good options.”
Trapattoni also said he was happy Ireland’s latest injury worry, Richard Dunne, would be fit for the fray, despite sitting out training for a second day in Malahide yesterday before the squad flew out to Yerevan.
“I am optimistic because it’s a precaution,” he said of Dunne. “He still has this knock in the muscle but also he did some running today and, tomorrow, he will train with us.”
The other news on the injury front was all positive with Robbie Keane, Aiden McGeady and Darren O’Dea all cleared fit to travel. And, once again, the manager expressed confidence that, out on the pitch, his talismanic skipper would not be affected by his frustrations at Spurs.
“Robbie is mature,” he said. “He is balanced in his mind about football because he knows from many years in England, he knows the situation. I am selfish at the moment for the Ireland team: it is better he plays only a few games and doesn’t risk an injury.
“He is proud and I’m sure he will play like the Robbie we know in Armenia, playing as a striker, but also helping us when we need him to change position.”
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