|Reid to make his international comeback.|
Ireland’s caretaker manager Noel King today announced his provisional 26 man squad for the upcoming qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan.
While there are no real changes to the defensive personnel, there is a reshuffle in the centre of the park which sees Darren Gibson return to the fold after a self-imposed exile. Nottingham Forest midfielder Andy Reid gets a call up after being left out in the cold by Trappatoni for the past 5 years.
Reid is a player of undoubted ability, with a left foot capable of picking the lock of any defence. There have always been question marks over his fitness, however his lack of pace is compensated by his passing, shooting and free-taking ability. Below is a short clip highlighting what he’s capable of. The only pity for Ireland is that Reid, along with Wes Hoolahan, were overlooked by Trappatoni during a period when Ireland were crying out for a creative presence in midfield. Now the two of them are the wrong side of thirty years old, Hoolahan only finding his way into Trappatoni’s plans earlier this year and Reid parachuted in for two World Cup qualifiers rendered almost meaningless by recent results.
Darron Gibson took himself out of contention for an Ireland call-up following last year’s disappointing European Championship. The decision of Trappatoni not to play him in any of Ireland’s three games was something that rankled, leading him to opt out of playing any more games under the veteran Italian manager. He declared his availability once more when Trappatoni parted ways with the Ireland team and will be a welcome addition to the midfield.
|A return on the cards?|
Interestingly, Stephen Ireland is a name that we could be seeing again on the team-sheet. Irish Independent football writer Daniel McDonnell tweeted today “A comeback for Stephen Ireland was discussed. He doesn’t feel in top condition/ready but gave impression he wants to play for Ireland again.” Whether he would be welcomed back by Irish fans is another matter entirely, but there is a precedent for a controversial Corkman returning to the fold.
Up front, Anthony Stokes is called up to the international set-up for the first time since he withdrew from the Carling Cup squad in May 2011. As the only player of the Irish panel currently involved in Champions League football, his inclusion at the expense of Connor Sammon is a welcome one.
Kevin Doyle has also been given a reprieve by Noel King, having missed out on the past few international fixtures. However the Wexford man had not been overlooked by Trappatoni due to some slight, (perceived or otherwise) but rather because of an abysmal run of form. Doyle now plies his trade with Wolverhampton Wanderers in League One and will surely be desperate to get on the field in a green shirt, if only to put himself in the shop window for a January escape. At 30 years old, time is running out for the former Reading striker.
|Doyle back in the squad.|
Elsewhere in the squad, Richard Dunne and John O’Shea are included despite both being suspended for the Germany game. They will join up with the rest of the team before the Kazakhstan fixture. Darren O’Dea has been omitted from the squad but Noel King is confident he has the strength in depth needed to cope at the back. While Andy Reid returns to the fold, his club-mate Simon Cox misses out.
Provisional 26 man squad:
Forde [Millwall], Westwood [Sunderland], Randolph [Birmingham], O’Brien [West Ham], St Ledger [Leicester], Wilson [Stoke], Coleman [Everton], Kelly [Reading], Clark [Aston Villa], McShane [Hull], Gibson [Everton], Whelan [Stoke], McCarthy [Everton], Green [Leeds], Reid [Nottingham Forest], McGeady [Spartak Moscow], Pilkington [Norwich], McClean [Wigan], Brady [Hull], Quinn [Hull], Hoolahan [Norwich], Long [WBA],Keane [LA Galaxy], Walters [Stoke], Doyle [Wolves], Stokes [Celtic] – O’Shea [Sunderland] and Dunne [QPR] will join squad for Kazakhstan game.