Richard Dunne has answered Ireland’s World Cup SOS and is set to start against Sweden at the Aviva Stadium on Friday week.
The big QPR defender has been named in Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad for the double header against the Swedes at home and Austria away.
Dunne has only just recovered from a year long groin injury and Trapattoni had suggested last month that he might struggle to play for his country again.
But Dunne proved his fitness in front of the watching Italian as QPR beat Bolton 1-0 on Saturday.
And now he is set to go straight into the team against Sweden and mark the great Zlatan Ibrahimovich even if he will struggle to play two World Cup qualifiers in five days.
Trap said: “Richard wasn’t that busy on Saturday but he is good physical condition and I think he can be important for us.
“I said that it would be necessary for him to play a few games after surgery. He had no club and it was important to see what condition he was in when he started to play.
“I saw that he was well. He is physically good and he will have another game before he joins us and then we will have the possibility to see him in training and assess him over the course of the week.
“In the last game, John O’Shea and Ciaran Clark played well and we also have Darren O’Dea so we have possibilities.
“But, against the players Sweden have, who are strong and tall, he could be important because he is so strong in the air.”
Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington has also been included while Joey O’Brien has earned a recall to a 29 man squad which will be pruned to 23 players early next week.
Young striker Paddy Madden is retained after making his debut in the Welsh friendly but Kevin Doyle again remains in the cold.
with Robbie Keane, Conor Sammon, Jon Walters, Simon Cox and Shane Long also named.
The Ireland manager added: “We have reached the most important part of our qualifying campaign.
The team performed very well against both Sweden and Austria back in March. We will look to emulate both performances, and build towards producing two positive results.
“Sweden and Austria are two very strong teams, and the qualifying table proves this. However, I believe these players have the mentality, attitude and composure to work together and get the points we need in order to qualify. We will prepare for both games next week and focus on the task facing us.”
Ireland squad: Forde, Westwood, Randolph, O’Shea, O’Brien, St Ledger, Wilson, Coleman, Kelly, O’Dea, Clark, Dunne, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy, Green, Hendrick, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Brady, Meyler, Hoolahan, Long, Keane, Sammon, Walters, Madden, Cox.
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