Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has suffered another personnel blow ahead of the World Cup opener in Kazakhstan next Friday after Everton midfielder Darron Gibson quit international football.
The Derry born midfielder has told Trap he wants to opt out of the Irish squad in protest at his lack of game time at the European Championships last summer.
Trapattoni has tried to paper over the row by claiming Gibson was going to be a major part of his World Cup plans ahead of Friday’s opening game.
But the player is believed to be seething at his lack of game time in Poland when Paul Green – who didn’t even make the original squad – was picked ahead of him as a substitute.
His departure follows the decision of Damien Duff and Shay Given to retire from international football.
Wolves midfielder Kevin Foley has also declined an invitation to rejoin the squad after his late Euro 2012 expulsion.
In a statement released by the FAI, Trapattoni said: “When Darron informed me of his decision to withdraw, I called him to talk things through.
“As we embark upon a brand new campaign, he is very much in my plans and I consider him to be a key player for Ireland for this campaign.
“However, Darron has said that although he doesn’t want to let anyone down, he doesn’t feel ready to return to the squad for this fixture after the disappointment of Euro 2012.
“I hope that Darron will take this time to reflect positively on his international career, and return to us in time for the Germany game in October.”
Sunderland midfielder David Meyler has been called up to the squad for the World Cup clash with Kazakhstan on Friday and the friendly against Oman in London the following Tuesday.