Trapattoni hints McClean could make Ireland’s Euro 2012 squad
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni admits Sunderland's James McClean is held in high regard by Irish camp
Giovanni Trapattoni has admitted Sunderland winger James McClean could break into his Republic of Ireland squad in time for Euro 2012.
McClean has impressed for Sunderland since Martin O’Neill handed the former Derry City midfielder a chance to impress in the Black Cats’ first team.
The 22-year-old has scored four goals in 16 appearances since moving to the Premier League in August, and McClean earned his first Irish cap in their 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic last week.
But despite the clamour in Ireland for the Sunderland winger to be included in Trapattoni’s 23-man party for next summer’s European championships, the Italian remained typically coy about McClean’s prospects.
“We follow him because he’s young, his mentality is very strong,” said Trapattoni, who handed the attacking midfielder his debut in last week’s draw with Czech Republic.
“I have not decided in this moment if he can participate in the Euros or not. But, in this moment, we regard him highly.”
He added: “We’ve followed him for many, many games. I know him very well because of the last game.”
The 72-year-old emphasised the importance of handing the players who helped Ireland reach the country’s first tournament since 2002 a chance to impress in Poland and Ukraine.
“We have in the future other opportunities to change slowly, slowly these players,” Trapattoni said, pointing out the other options at his disposal in Aiden McGeady, Damien Duff and Stephen Hunt.
“We have many, many players also in this situation.”