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Gibson ready for Ireland return

Darron Gibson is ready to re-launch his Ireland career in the face of a potential German onslaught after ending his international exile.

The 25-year-old Everton midfielder famously made himself unavailable for his country after spending the entire Euro 2012 finals in Poland sitting on the bench as then manager Giovanni Trapattoni ignored his claims for a place in the team.

Following a disastrous campaign in Poland, the Italian singled out Gibson, Seamus Coleman and James McClean as the vanguard of a new generation of players who would take the nation forward, but the former Manchester United man had had enough.

Trapattoni's departure after last month's World Cup qualifier defeats by Sweden and Austria, which effectively ended their qualification hopes, prompted the Football Association of Ireland to dispense with the 74-year-old's services, and that in turn persuaded Gibson, who has 19 senior caps, to make himself available once again.

Asked if he felt almost as though he was starting all over again, he said: "It does, a little bit, yes, not with the players, the players were fine when I came back in, but obviously with the fans.

"I have got something to prove. I thought I should have played back then and hopefully I will get my chance on Friday night to show what I can do."

Gibson's absence meant he played no role in the meaningful part of the current campaign as Ireland attempted to qualify for a second successive major tournament finals.

He said: "It was tough, it was tough to stay away, but it was my decision and I stuck to it. But I am delighted to be back in."

Gibson's form for Everton has demonstrated exactly what his country has missed since the debacle in Poland, and he was warmly welcomed back into the fold.

In explaining his reasons for turning his back on Trapattoni's Ireland, he pointed to the Italian's repeated preference for Paul Green, although he insists there was no frosty reception for him for the Leeds man when he arrived at the team hotel.

He said: "Me and Paul Green get on well. I didn't say anything bad about him, I just said I thought I should have been playing ahead of him."

Skipper Robbie Keane missed training on Wednesday morning with an ankle problem, but is expected to be fit for the game.


From Belfast Telegraph