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Fahey itching to get back

Keith Fahey is desperate to make up for lost time as he prepares to be pitched into battle with the mighty Germany in Friday night's World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium.

The 29-year-old Birmingham midfielder spent the summer watching his Ireland team-mates toiling at the Euro 2012 finals on television after his dream of joining them in Poland was torn apart by a persistent groin injury. Four months on, Fahey has emerged as the favourite to clinch the third spot in Giovanni Trapattoni's re-shaped central midfield.

The Dubliner, who has collected 15 senior caps to date, said: "To be honest, I have missed nearly a year now since I last played with injuries and I am desperate to play, I am desperate to play for Ireland. I am not one who comes and expects to sit on the bench every game, I want to play."

He added: "If I have to do better in training or whatever, I am willing to do it. I want to play, I want to get more caps under my belt, I want to do well. I want to wear the green shirt."

If he does get the nod, Fahey could play a key role in Trapattoni's plan to limit the Germans. The 73-year-old has come in for criticism over his reliance on the 4-4-2 system he has adopted for the vast majority of games Ireland have played under his charge.

His inflexibility was cruelly exposed by Russia during the last qualification campaign when the visitors arrived at the Aviva Stadium and raced into a 3-0 lead as they exploited the space in the middle of the pitch before running out 3-2 winners.

Ireland suffered during the summer too when Spain and Italy enjoyed similar freedom despite Trapattoni's efforts to plug the hole with his second striker.

But all week as he has put his players through their paces in Malahide, the talk has been of a dedicated three-man central midfield unit staffed by specialists and with Glenn Whelan missing through injury, Keith Andrews, James McCarthy and either Fahey or David Meyler are likely to be asked to do that job.

Fahey said: "It might bring opportunity. In the summer, I dropped out and someone else came in. In football, someone's loss is someone else's gain, so maybe there will be opportunities for lads to step in and get a chance to play.

"Playing three against the quality of Germany is going to help the team be more solid. When we played Spain, the two lads, Keith and Glenn, put in a massive shift, but they still couldn't get near Spain with their quality. But playing a three in there will definitely help the team be more solid."


From Belfast Telegraph