Kevin Kilbane: Now is the right time for Giovanni Trapattoni to include Anthony Pilkington

The former Ireland international believes that the time is right for the Canaries midfielder to come into the Irish squad ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifiers in March
Former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane has urged Giovanni Trapattoni to select Anthony Pilkington for upcoming international fixtures.

The 24-year-old Norwich City winger, who has one under-21 cap for the Boys in Green, has indicated his desire to play for Ireland at senior level and former international Kilbane believes that it is 'the right time to get him involved'.

"I really cannot speak highly enough of Anthony because of where he has come from and what he has done to get to the top. He is very driven. I hope he is selected," Kilbane told the Irish Independent. "Now is the right time to get him involved, and to make him feel welcome within the squad."

 He added: "For me, he is further ahead of Robbie [Brady] because he has played more games and is playing consistently at Premier League level."

The former Everton, Hull City and Sunderland midfielder, who recently retired from football, is also adamant that his former colleague, Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given, should also return to the squad.

The 36-year-old shot-stopper made the decision to retire from international football in the wake of Euro 2012, but has indicated his desire to make himself available for selection again, and Kilbane believes that he is 'still [Ireland's] best goalkeeper'.

He said: "I think Shay should come back – I don't think he should have retired in the first place. There is an argument to say youth should get its chance, but in my opinion Shay is still our best goalkeeper.

"Keiren [Westwood] and other goalkeepers would have an argument with that, but what Shay has done over the years is fantastic," he said.

Giovanni Trapattoni is set to name his Ireland squad next week for the upcoming friendly against Poland on February 6.