Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is set to meet Stephen Ireland with a view to bringing him back into the international fold.

The Manchester City midfielder has not played for his country since September 2007 and has, up to this point, ignored repeated calls to return.

Now, however, Ireland's father Michael has revealed that the player would be open to a meeting with the Irish manager in the coming weeks.

"Giovanni and Stephen have already spoken by phone and will sit down some time in the next few weeks," Michael Ireland told the Irish Daily Star.

"I don't think that Stephen would have agreed to that unless he was interested in returning to play for his country."

Trapattoni believes that a new rule freeing up the eligibility of players over the age of 21 in international football - as well as the Republic's impressive displays in World Cup qualifying - will help to lure the Cork-born 22-year-old back to playing for his country.

"We have to know if he wishes to come back or not," the Italian said in the aftermath of Ireland's 1-1 draw against Bulgaria in Sofia on Saturday.

"I saw two or three City games and I like him, and I will try all possible ways to get him to come back. I want to know what he is thinking and [City manager] Mark Hughes is not sure. He said it is up to him, but we do not know."

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