Belfast Telegraph

Republic of Ireland v Norway: St Leger and Green blow for Trapattoni

Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland squad for tomorrow's friendly with Norway was further decimated last night with likely starters Sean St Ledger and Paul Green both ruled out of the encounter with knee injuries.

The Italian has now lost 10 players he wanted in Dublin this week, with St Ledger and Green joining Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane, Ciaran Clark, Caleb Folan, Kevin Kilbane, Paul McShane, Keiren Westwood and Darron Gibson on the absentee list.

Westwood and Gibson were ruled out early yesterday, with the Coventry keeper suffering from illness and the Manchester United midfielder given permission to skip the game as his baby daughter is unwell.

Scunthorpe's Joe Murphy was called up to replace Westwood, leaving the 71-year-old with 19 available players for the visit of the Scandinavians.

New caps are likely to be awarded to Seamus Coleman and Stoke pair Marc Wilson and Jonathan Walters. Trapattoni appears to have closed the door on a return for Steven Reid, however.

The West Brom man intimated he would be willing to come out of retirement in a crisis, and his ex-Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce last week said that the player is desperate to pull on the green jersey again.

However, Trapattoni believes it is time to look to the future, pointing out that the Londoner has been deployed at right back in his Premier League outings this term.

Meanwhile, the withdrawals of Robbie Keane and Caleb Folan have significantly boosted Walters' prospects of winning a cap. Shane Long and Kevin Doyle are in pole position to start the game, but the 27-year-old is the only other striker in the squad so an appearance is likely.

“It would be an emotional experience for me,” says Walters, whose Dublin-born mother Helen Brady passed away when he was 12. “Since the squad was announced, I have been inundated with texts and phone calls, and moving ones from my mum's brothers and sisters and my cousins. It's meant a hell of a lot to a lot of people.

“Every chance my mum got to come back, every single holiday we had, Easter, Christmas, we were back here for the whole of them.

“We spent all our holidays here, so I saw what it means for everyone here when the national team does well.”

Belfast Telegraph

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