Jon Walters set to get the call but McClean won't face Spain 10 years ago

Jon Walters set to get the call but McClean won't face Spain

Giovanni Trapattoni is unlikely to ring the changes to the Irish team to face Spain, but he could shake things up in attack.

In the aftermath of the humbling defeat to Croatia on Sunday night, there have been widespread calls for change ahead of the terribly ominous meeting with the reigning World and European Champions in Gdansk on Thursday night.

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Those expecting a slew of changes obviously don’t know the manager, however, who has stuck with the current side through thick and thin and is unlikely to wield the axe on his team after one defeat.

One fairly rash suggestion that had been doing the rounds was that captain and leading goalscorer Robbie Keane might be sacrificed in favour of an extra midfielder or a striker with greater presence, but Trap was quick to dismiss the suggestion out of hand yesterday.

“Robbie is not only our captain but is a player of great experience,” Trap is quoted as saying in the Irish Daily Star.

“He also gives us a little bit of extra time on the ball. He thinks about the way we play and we need strength. When you achieve this position in the finals from qualifying you cannot change this.

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“There is a reason and it is important that I think about this. It is my duty and my decision. It is important that we give him the opportunity to show us that he is still needed.

“I think about what is better at this moment. Keane is a very important option. He has personality and our opponents give him respect.”

While Robbie’s position is seemingly safe, the same cannot be said for strike partner Kevin Doyle, who was arguably one of Ireland’s better performers in Poznan on Sunday night.

His replacement, Jonathan Walters put himself about and as Mick McCarthy liked to say about the now estranged Caleb Folan, he stepped on a few defenders' toes, and put himself right in the frame to face Ramos, Pique and company in two days time.

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“Maybe Jonathan shows us this situation with his physical strength,” Trap added.

“He helps the strikers with his physical presence.”

Trap’s decision to stick a striker, Simon Cox, on the left wing on Sunday indicated a certain lack of trust in his bench, where Stephen Hunt and James McClean would surely have been better equipped to provide a threat from out wide.

The Sunderland winger is the one player Irish fans feel could really make a difference to the current side, but it looks as if we’ll have to wait until the World Cup qualifying campaign to see what he can do as Trap all but ruled out putting him in the team on Thursday night.

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“I have a duty,” Trap added.

“It’s his first competitive game. You can understand how much more tense a young player can be in this situation.”

The fearless display of 18-year old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his first competitive start for England against France yesterday blows that theory out of the water somewhat, but Trap’s mind ain’t for changing at this point it seems.

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