Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has confirmed that Anthony Pilkington has committed himself to playing for Ireland, and is looking forward to seeing the Norwich City winger in action against Poland next month.
Speaking from Italy due to a family bereavement, Trapattoni praised the 24-year-old midfielder. "He is a great player with a lot of potential, and somebody that we’re most interested in," Trapattoni said. "We’ve been following him for a long time. We’re obviously without Damien Duff, but he’s the sort of player that has the ability to play on both the right and the left. He’s good, and well known for his goal scoring ability, and I think that will certainly add something, but it’s not just that- technically he’s extremely good, and tactically aware on the pitch also. This makes me really look forward to having him in the squad."
The Italian was also confident that Pilkington was firmly committed to lining out for Ireland, declaring "Yes, he has made it clear that he wants to play for Ireland, and that’s very positive for the country, and for him. We are really looking forward to working with him."
As well as Pilkington, Trapattoni has also included uncapped Ipswich Town goalkeeper Stephen Henderson and three newcomers from Derby County in the squad. Richard Keogh, Jeff Hendrick, and Conor Sammon have all been called up after Trapattoni watched the Rams twice in recent weeks. "Sammon has been the player that has been most on our radar prior to this," Trapattoni claimed. "We have been looking at him for some time. He has a good technique, and has a strong physical presence. Keogh has a good personality, and we like what we have seen so far. Also with question marks over Sean St Ledger and Richard Dunne’s fitness, it’s always good to be looking at other options in central defence.
"Hendrick is a very good, dynamic player, who shows a lot of ability and technique in and around midfield and we very much look forward to working with him. I think these three players have a good chance to be involved, not just for this game, but for future matches."
Trapattoni also admitted that Sammon, Hendrick, and Pilkington were all likely to make their debuts against Poland, saying "I think they can start the game, because it will be a good test for them. I am sure two or three will start the game."