McClean left out of Ireland squad for Czech match

Sunderland forward James McClean has been left out of Ireland’s

squad for this month’s friendly with the Czech Republic.

McClean has scored three goals in 11 club matches this season

and was expected to get his first international appearance

following FIFA clearance for him to switch from Northern Ireland to

Ireland.

Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni has said he will remain loyal

to the men who secured qualification for the European Championship,

despite watching the 22-year-old McClean on several occasions.

Darron Gibson was included in the 24-man squad following his

January move from Manchester United to Everton, while captain

Robbie Keane, buoyed by his form on loan at Aston Villa, leads a

pool of five strikers for the match in Dublin on Feb. 29.

”This game is the beginning of our Euro 2012 preparations,”

Trapattoni said. ”As we face this fixture, it is important for our

players to remember the attitude and performance that brought us

qualification.”

At Euro 2012, Ireland is in Group C along with defending

champion Spain, Italy and Croatia.

”The Czech Republic are a strong team, and their system is

similar to Croatia and Spain,” Trapattoni said. ”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 in the coming months.”

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood

(Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall)

Defenders: John O’Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham),

Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Richard Dunne (Aston

Villa), Sean St. Ledger (Leicester), Darren O’Dea (Leeds), Kevin

Foley (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Wigan),

Seamus Coleman (Everton), Keith Andrews (West Bromwich Albion),

Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton) Damien Duff

(Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt

(Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Forwards: Robbie Keane (Aston Villa), Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton

Wanderers), Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion), Simon Cox (West

Bromwich Albion), Jon Walters (Stoke)