Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has stayed loyal to the players who achieved UEFA EURO 2012 qualification when naming his 24-man squad for their forthcoming friendly against the Czech Republic.
Trapattoni, whose side host the Czechs in Dublin on 29 February in their first warm-up fixture ahead of this summer's tournament, has resisted the temptation to bring in uncapped left-winger James McClean – enjoying an impressive debut campaign in the Premier League with Sunderland AFC – or Norwich City FC playmaker Wes Hoolahan. Instead, the Italian has kept faith with the group that appeared in qualifying.
The Ireland boss, who called the 22-year-old McClean "one for the future", said: "This game is the beginning of our EURO preparations. It is important for our players to remember the attitude and performance that brought us qualification. The Czech Republic are a strong team and their system is similar to Croatia and Spain. This game is vital in helping us choose our 23-player squad for May. We will continue to monitor our players afterwards and keep a close eye on their fitness."
Liam Lawrence, Paul McShane and Andy Keogh have failed to make the cut as Trapattoni hopes midfielders Seamus Coleman of Everton FC and FC Spartak Moskva's Aiden McGeady can recover from injury in time to face the Czechs.
Republic of Ireland squad
Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Aston Villa FC), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland AFC), David Forde (Millwall FC).
Defenders: John O'Shea (Sunderland AFC), Stephen Kelly (Fulham FC), Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa FC), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City FC), Darren O'Dea (Leeds United AFC), Kevin Foley (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC).
Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke City FC), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic FC), Seamus Coleman (Everton FC), Keith Andrews (West Bromwich Albion FC), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City FC), Darron Gibson (Everton FC), Damien Duff (Fulham FC), Aiden McGeady (FC Spartak Moskva), Stephen Hunt (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC).
Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy/Aston Villa FC), Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion FC), Simon Cox (West Bromwich Albion FC), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City FC).
*Keiren Westwood and Stephen Kelly have withdrawn. Stephen Henderson (Portsmouth FC), James McClean (Sunderland AFC) and Paul Green (Derby County FC) have been added.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.