Giovanni Trapattoni defended his decision to axe Kevin Doyle from his squad, as he and his players gathered in Malahide on Sunday, ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.
Wolves striker Kevin Doyle, was yesterday excluded from the final 23-man squad, as his place went to Derby County striker Conor sammon. However, the Italian boss spoke to reporters saying:
“I sent him an SMS, I told him I wanted to try two or three other players. Up to a little while ago he wasn’t so fit and maybe he was a little disappointed, too, with this situation. But I said to him if I need him I know he’ll be ready.”
There were a total of ten players missing from yesterday’s first training session, some through injury, and both Robbie Keane and Darre O’Dea yet to arrive from across the Atlantic. When asked if the former was still worthy of his place in the squad, the manager was adamant that Keane is “not just a name, he scores goals”.
The possibility of Wes Hoolahan switching to the wing in place of the injured Aiden McGeady, was also ruled out by the manager, who commented:
“Not in that position. He plays behind the striker, not left or right, and we won’t change our system away to Sweden. It’s a very important game, but we can change during it depending on what happens.”
Seán St Ledger is “fit and ready” according to Trapattoni, and he is also in line to play his part in the crucial qualifiers over the next seven days:
“I spoke with him and he told me he was ready. I was worried about his injury but he told me ‘I’m fit and ready’. I told him to ‘be careful, because we might need you’. They (Sweden) have fast strikers. But again today he has said he was okay.”