Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Nations Cup: Republic's young guns lack hunger, says Given

Shay Given reacted to the withdrawal of Wigan midfielder James McCarthy from the Republic of Ireland squad by questioning the hunger of young players.

McCarthy, 20, who scored twice in a 4-3 win over Blackburn on Saturday, was withdrawn by relegation-threatened Latics manager Roberto Martinez ahead of the Carling Nations Cup game against Wales at the Aviva Stadium tonight.

The midfielder only recently returned after a three-month lay-off with an ankle injury and took a couple of hefty knocks during the match against Rovers.

At a press conference yesterday Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni appeared unhappy about the former Hamilton player's absence.

Veteran keeper Given, who is the Republic's most-capped player with 109 appearances, believes attitudes may have changed since he started out in his international career.

“I don't know what his situation is but, as the manager says, he (McCarthy) is very young,” he said.

“When I was very young I was very excited to be in the squad but maybe young players' mentalities have changed since I was 20 or 21.

“But we would take him with open arms because he is a quality player. We hope he is going to be a big part of the future. I think he will be an important player for us in future and the games coming up.

“Hopefully it is just about growing up — as he gets older and wiser he'll be hungrier. But it could be that he is doing rehabilitation work at Wigan this week. A lot goes on that we don't see behind the scenes.

“Maybe he'll be better for Wigan for that next week, as it's only a friendly for ourselves.”

Trappatoni said all the right things when quizzed about McCarthy but there was an underlying sense of disgruntlement.

“He (McCarthy) has an injury,” he said. “He (Martinez) said Wigan are in a bad position in the table and he said maybe he should stay at home.

“I accept this because Martinez was very clear and I understood him. I wish to have him but I have to respect his opinion.

“I wouldn't like to be in conflict with the club. We can wait. He is young, his time is in the future.”

Trappatoni revealed that Everton winger Seamus Coleman and Aston Villa left-back Ciaran Clark will make their debuts.

Stoke striker Jon Walters is set to start up front with Kevin Doyle.

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