SUNDERLAND winger James McClean was a shock absentee from the Republic of Ireland squad today.
McClean was widely-expected to earn his first Ireland call-up for the friendly with Czech Republic at the Aviva Stadium on February 29.
But Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has opted to keep faith with those who secured Euro 2012 qualification, with McClean left out of the 23-man party.
McClean’s exclusion makes it a major doubt that the 22-year-old will be part of the Ireland squad for the summer’s European Championships.
Read more on McClean’s omission, plus all the build-up to the Arsenal game, in tomorrow’s Echo – and don’t miss a full match report in tomorrow’s Football Echo.