Giovanni Trapattoni said it was a difficult task to trim his Republic of Ireland squad down to 23 names after announcing the list of players he hopes to take to UEFA EURO 2012.
The Italian coach has called up 23 players for the friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Dublin on 26 May, and, barring injury, wishes to take the same squad to Poland and Ukraine for the finals. "It has not been easy to choose just 23 players because we have so many other good players who deserve to be here," said Trapattoni.
"We are looking forward to UEFA EURO 2012 and we will be ready," he added. "While we are aware of our limits, we will look to improve in our training games.
One man not involved is Wigan Athletic FC midfielder James McCarthy, who has asked Trapattoni to be excused from international duty this summer to spend time with his family as his father has been diagnosed with cancer.
Sunderland AFC's James McClean is the major beneficiary as the former Derry City FC player, who only made his Ireland debut against the Czech Republic in February, has made the cut ahead of more experienced players like Paul Green and Andy Keogh – who are both on standby.
"Last week James called me and explained what had happened in his family, that he was deciding to stay at home to spend time with his family," added Trapattoni. "He said he was not ready to come away with us because of his family situation and I respect that choice."
Ireland will continue their preparations after the Bosnia and Herzegovina game with a friendly against Hungary on 4 June, before they get to grips with Group C rivals Croatia, Spain and Italy at UEFA EURO 2012.
Provisional Republic of Ireland squad
Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Aston Villa FC), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland AFC), David Forde (Millwall FC).
Defenders: John O'Shea (Sunderland AFC), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa FC), Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City FC), Darren O'Dea (Celtic FC), Stephen Kelly (Fulham FC), Kevin Foley (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC).
Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke City FC), Keith Andrews (West Bromwich Albion FC), Aiden McGeady (FC Spartak Moskva), Darron Gibson (Everton FC), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City FC), Damien Duff (Fulham FC), Stephen Hunt (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), James McClean (Sunderland AFC).
Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion FC), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City FC), Simon Cox (West Bromwich Albion FC).
On standby: Darren Randolph (Motherwell FC), Paul McShane (Hull City AFC), Paul Green (unattached), Seamus Coleman (Everton FC), Andy Keogh (Millwall FC).
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