Giovanni Trapattoni to ignore calls for Sunderland winger to rescue Euro hopes
James McClean to be left on bench against Spain but Keane’s place is safe
Giovanni Trapattoni will resist all calls to let Derry youngster James McClean loose on Spain at the European Championships on Thursday.
And misfiring Irish captain Robbie Keane, without a goal in five games now, is safe from the Euro 2012 axe.
The Ireland boss has promised to make changes after Sunday’s disastrous 3-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia.
Jonathon Walters is set to replace Kevin Doyle upfront and Stephen Kelly could come in for Stephen Ward at the back against the world champions.
But Trapattoni is not going to risk Sunderland sensation McClean in Gdansk on Thursday night.
Speaking to the Irish media, Trapattoni said: “I have a duty. It’s his first game. When, there are senior, experienced players in this situation, maybe there is tension. You can understand how much more tense a young player can be.
“It’s important we give them the quiet opportunity. Not when we need their performance, under pressure. It’s a heavy weight on his shoulders.
“We have a reason to think about this. This is our team our concrete squad. We have the new. He will come in the future. Not when we change this, or this, or this.”
Captain Keane was substituted against the Croatians in Poznan but he will start against World Cup winners and reigning European champions Spain according to his manager.
Trap said: “Robbie is a very important player for us. He has personality, the opponent has respect for him.
“He gives us time on the ball because he plays with experience and thinks about what can happen.”
There will be changes however with Walters set to replace Doyle upfront.
The Ireland manager said: “Spain are technically superior and maybe we need this change. Remember how Andy Keogh played against Italy last year, as a second striker helping midfield? This is something we can think about.
“I said before that maybe Paul Green could play against Spain but Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews played very well so maybe we’ll think about bringing in Walters as someone who can do double-marking.
“He has the physical strength to do this. Simon Cox is another with these qualities. We know we might need to correct things for Spain.”
Richard Dunne sat out training on Monday with blisters but will be fit to play on Thursday as Trapattoni looks for a major improvement from his team.
“We must try and react like this, in a much shorter space of time of course. This is a chance of redemption for the players,” said the 73-year-old Italian.
“We have shown already that we have heart, a good mentality and commitment and they just need to be reminded that they are a good team.
“We are here on merit and we also deserved to go to the World Cup. I tell the players this and if they do not believe me when I say it I will show them the DVDs to convince them.”
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