Belfast Telegraph

Tardelli predicts Duff U-turn for Republic's Germany game

By Paul Hirst

Damien Duff could be set for a return to the international fold, just 10 days after announcing his retirement, according to Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli.

Duff called time on his 100-cap career in the Republic's last game of Euro 2012 and vowed never to return to the international arena.

The Republic, who also lost Shay Given to retirement this summer, will begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in Kazakhstan without Duff this week, but Tardelli hopes the Fulham man could be persuaded to come back for the country's next qualifier against Germany in October.

“I know he has said he has retired, but I hope he will be back for the Germany game. It is possible,” Tardelli said. “I don't know if he will or not, but I always see him during Fulham's matches and I think it is possible, why not?

“He is a very good player. He said he has stopped but I hope he will come back.”

There has been no hint that Duff would consider a recall — he said recently he was looking forward to watching Friday's game in the pub — but the 33-year-old's experience would help the nation's embattled manager Giovanni Trappatoni.

Trapattoni is under pressure after watching his team flop at Euro 2012 where they lost all three games and scored just one goal.

The Italian has also had to deal with an unwelcome barb from Everton midfielder Darron Gibson, who joined Kevin Foley in making himself unavailable for this week's game, and the friendly against Oman on Tuesday, due to his disappointment at being left on the bench for the whole of Euro 2012.

Tardelli, who has worked under Trapattoni during his four years in charge, has hit out at his compatriot's critics and claims that the 73-year-old is more determined than ever to lead the Republic to success.

“Giovanni wants to work always every day. He is full of enthusiasm, just like he was the first time I met him,” Tardelli added.

“I don't understand why Giovanni is (being criticised)... because he achieved good results.”

Although skipper Robbie Keane has committed himself to the Republic for the Brazil 2014 qualifying campaign, Trapattoni heads to Kazakhstan on Friday without Given, Duff and Richard Dunne, who is injured.

Stoke utility man Marc Wilson is sure his fellow Northern Ireland-born international Gibson will return for the Republic.

“I know Darron quite well. I think he will be back again,” Wilson said. “I could see why he would be disappointed (that he didn't play at Euro 2012).

“He is a good player, but the manager selects the team and you have to respect his decision and just get on with it.”

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