Republic of Ireland news

Republic's Reid desperate to impress Trapattoni

January 8, 2009

Republic of Ireland midfielder Andy Reid is desperate to win his place back in Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

The talented Sunderland player first found himself out of the team under the Italian then dropped altogether, prompting a national debate in Ireland.

But Reid, 26, has not given up hope of a recall when Trapattoni names his squad later this month for the qualifier against Georgia in Dublin on February 11.

Reid said: ''I love playing for my country - I'd pay my own flight over there and everything to go over and play for Ireland.

''I love playing for Ireland and I would never turn down the opportunity to play. I am always so, so proud to be asked to play for Ireland.''

Reid's chances could be further diminished if Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland makes himself available for international duty again.

Trapattoni is adamant he has had no contact with the 22-year-old amid repeated speculation he is ready to end his self-imposed exile from international football.

However, the Italian, who has never drawn a line under Ireland's situation despite failing to persuade him to return after a face-to-face meeting within days of his appointment last year, is happy to listen to what he has to say.

He said: ''We haven't heard from Stephen Ireland, but if he does want to declare himself available for his country, all he has to do is let us know himself through channels he is aware of.''

Ireland has not played for his country since the European Championship qualifying draw in Slovakia in September 2007.

He withdrew from the squad for the following game against the Czech Republic, initially citing the passing of his maternal grandmother, and then the death of his paternal grandmother, before it emerged that, in fact, his girlfriend had suffered a miscarriage.

Ireland was called up for the clashes with Germany and Cyprus the following month, but again withdrew with then manager Steve Staunton revealing he was ''not mentally ready to play for his country''.

Trapattoni met Ireland, along with Steve Finnan and Andy O'Brien, in Manchester in May, and Espanyol defender Finnan has since returned to international action.

Bolton defender O'Brien decided not to make himself available, but Ireland was non-committal.

However, rumours have abounded since before Christmas when his father suggested he was ready to return.

Trapattoni will now await a call, although he could be forgiven for not holding his breath eight months after making his initial approach.

Ireland has been in fine form for his club this season despite their ongoing problems, and has been virtually ever-present.