Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has defended his decision to leave Blackburn's Steven Reid and Portsmouth's Steve Finnan out of the 25-man squad for the World Cup qualifying play-off against France.
Sunderland's Andy Reid and Coventry's Clinton Morrison are also out of the party named by Trapattoni yesterday for the two-legged play-off against France at Croke Park on November 14 and Stade de France four days later.
Trapattoni recently said he did not think Steven Reid would be fit enough to play again at the highest level following injury, a statement which drew a furious response from the player's club manager Sam Allardyce.
But, announcing his squad yesterday Trapattoni remained unrepentant even though Reid scored a penalty and played for 70 minutes of Blackburn's 5-2 Carling Cup fourth-round tie win over Peterborough.
Trapattoni said: “This team now is balanced. I cannot change now.
“It is not the time to change the team now. We have a mentality (to beat France), we cannot change the team now.”
“We were undefeated in all 10 games and this is a reflection of how we have played and also the mental strength of this team.”
Republic of Ireland squad to play France in the World Cup qualifying play-off on November 14 and 18: Given (Man City), Westwood (Coventry), Murphy (Scunthorpe), O'Shea (Man Utd), Dunne (Villa), Kelly (Fulham), Kilbane (Hull), Nolan (Preston), St Ledger (Middlesbrough), McShane (Hull), O'Dea (Reading), McGeady (Celtic), Duff (Fulham), Gibson (Man Utd), Whelan (Stoke), Andrews (Blackburn), Miller (Hibernian), Hunt (Hull), Keogh (Wolves), Lawrence (Stoke), Doyle (Wolves), Keane (Tottenham), Long (Reading), Best (Coventry), Stokes (Hibernian).