Giovanni Trapattoni has rested the old guard for the friendly with Serbia on August 15, but his squad selection has done little to fire the imagination after the European Championship flop.
Captain Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne, Damien Duff, Stephen Hunt and Shay Given have all been told they are not wanted for this game.
Instead Trapattoni has turned to the likes of James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman, Marc Wilson and
Andy Keogh for the first game since the Euros, with no place for the likes of Anthony Pilkington or Wes Hoolahan.
Trapattoni said, “This friendly offers us a great opportunity to try out younger players ahead of our World Cup qualifying campaign.
“As a result, I have decided to leave some of our senior players out of the squad for this fixture. Serbia are a very good team with a great football heritage, and will provide us with a great test before our game against Kazakhstan in September.
“I am looking forward to working with each of these players next month. As we prepare for a new journey for this team, it is important that we remember our last campaign as we build for a brighter future.”
Trap did indicate that the senior players will play for their country despite recent speculation surrounding Keane’s future in particular.
He said, “I said to the senior players after Poland ‘I don’t wish you for this game (Serbia) because I wish to try the other options.’ They said, ‘Yes Mister, no problem.’ They know they can stay.
“I wish to see McCarthy in this game. I wish to see McCarthy and we prefer McCarthy at this moment.
Now we wish to try young players in this friendly game to give this opportunity to show us how what they can do.”
Trapattoni also confirmed that Kevin Foley turned down the chance to return to the squad after he was axed from the Euros on the eve of the tournament.
The manager confirmed, “I called him, I spoke with him and he said that he was a little bit sad. He said to me, ‘I am not ready in this moment and also I am a little bit disappointed.’
“I understood him and there is no problem. Maybe in the future he can be ready. I understood the disappointment, but he didn’t say never.”
Reflecting on the Euros, Trap said, “Our group was very, very tough, but I would like to start the Euro again tomorrow because I am sure it was an accident, this Euro for us.
“In my life I have won a lot, but I also lost a lot. When I start again, I start with a spirit of renewed vigor.
For me, it’s a new campaign, a new life and we have new players.
“It is important to give them the same possibility to get the good results. I don’t give up easily. It is like a drug for me. It is life for me.”
The Republic of Ireland squad to play Serbia is Westwood, Forde, Randolph, Wilson, O’Shea, St. Ledger, O’Dea, Ward, Kelly, McShane, Whelan, Gibson, McCarthy, Green, Coleman, McGeady, Keogh, McClean, Treacy, Doyle, Long, Cox, Walters.
CELTIC manager Neil Lennon is chasing Ireland striker Simon Cox, fueling speculation that Anthony Stokes could be sold before the transfer window closes in August.
Stokes has been linked with a return to the Premier League in England as Celtic come to terms with the financial implications of Rangers move to third division football in Scotland.
The manager says he wants to keep Stokes at Parkhead but has admitted that “every player has his price.”
Now Lennon has been linked with West Brom’s Irish striker Cox, set to leave the Hawthorns with Blackburn and Middlesbrough also interested in his services.
Lennon, whose experimental side was hammered 4-0 by Ajax in a pre-season friendly in Amsterdam last week, has repeated his call for Rangers to be stripped of titles won over the past decade if they are found guilty of signing players on illegal contracts.
Celtic’s rivals could lose the five Scottish Premier League crowns and four Scottish Cups they won between 2002 and 2011 if allegations of wrongful registration of players is proven.
Boss Lennon, who played for and managed Celtic in that time, told the Daily Mail, “I will see what the commission finds and, if they are found to have broken the rules, then they should be stripped of their titles.
“It will not change what has gone on in the past but I suppose there will be a sort of moral victory in that respect.
“It is not going to change my life now, by any stretch of the imagination, but it would be good to be changed for historical reference.”
LEAGUE leaders Sligo Rovers fought back from a two goal deficit to draw 2-2 with visitors Cork City in the Airtricity League on Sunday evening.
St. Patrick’s Athletic saw their title hopes dented in a 1-1 draw with UCD while Dundalk left it late to secure a 1-1 draw at home to Derry City.