Trapattoni vows to try Sunderland’s McClean on right for Ireland

Giovanni Trapattoni
Giovanni Trapattoni
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GIOVANNI Trapattoni is eager to experiment with James McClean on the right flank after including the Sunderland winger in the Republic of Ireland squad.

Trapattoni (left) yesterday broke with his pledge to keep faith with those who secured Ireland’s qualification to Euro 2012, by naming McClean in the 23-man party for the summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

The Italian, along with assistant Marco Tardelli, have undertook several scouting missions to watch McClean, with the 23-year-old flourishing on Sunderland’s left flank since making his first Premier League start on New Year’s Day.

But Trapattoni believes McClean can prove to be equally effective on the right and the former Derry City man will report for duty on Thursday week for extra training - three days ahead of the bulk of the squad.

“There are many examples of left-sided players playing on the right,” said Trapattoni.

“I said to James if he can try to play on the right, it might open up the pitch. We want three or four days to work better to try this situation.

“He can train with us and learn our system. At his club, he plays in one position and he has only played one game for us. Maybe we can look at other situations. He said ‘Thank you’, and he will come on May 17.”

Trapattoni, who left out James McCarthy on the personal request of the Wigan midfielder due to his father undergoing cancer treatment, believes McClean has improved as an attacking force since first breaking into Sunderland’s ranks.

The former Juventus and AC Milan boss consulted Sunderland team-mate John O’Shea before making his decision, but insists McClean is likely to play his part in an ominous-looking group which sees Ireland face Spain, Italy and Croatia.

“I have followed McClean and I have also asked the senior players, like (John) O’Shea, about him,” added Trapattoni. “He said: ‘He’s not bad, he’s good’. He has enough good personality and he is physically strong. He’s improved, also.

“In the first games I saw only his strength. Now, for example, he also scores from free-kicks.

“I think he can give us energy. When you have three games in 10 days you need options.

“We can play (Damien) Duff and (Aiden) McGeady and then maybe McClean in the second or third game which can be important.”

Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2012: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O’Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O’Dea (Leeds), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).

Stand-by: Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Paul McShane (Crystal Palace), Paul Green (Unattached), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Andy Keogh (Millwall).