Andrews: Let's end speculation over retired players and focus on those in the squad

The Bolton Wanderers midfielder has urged Giovanni Trapattoni to focus on the next generation and to end speculation surrounding retired players
Republic of Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews has urged the team's management to end speculation about possible returns for Shay Given and Damien Duff.

The 32-year-old, who picked up the 'Three' FAI Senior International Player of the Year award in Dublin on Sunday February 3, said that rumours about recently retired players reversing their decisions are not helpful to the current crop.

Both goalkeeper Given and winger Duff retired after Ireland's ill-fated Euro 2012 campaign. Given, 36, has said he would like to come back into the fold and assistant manager Marco Tardelli had previously suggested, somewhat cryptically, that Duff, 33, could also return.

"If they're not [coming back], let's nip it in the bud and move on and focus on the players that are in the squad," Andrews told "If there is a chance they do want to, then it's a conversation that needs to happen between themselves and the management. It's all about the players that are here.

"We’ve had it before with players that were not getting selected, for whatever reasons, but no, we need to focus on the players that are here, especially the younger ones and the new lads coming into the squad," he added.

But the former Blackburn man also said that Fulham's Duff would strengthen the squad. He said: "It's a tricky one, the lads have made their mind up in the summer and how true it is, whether they want to come back, I really don't know.

"If they did, then, on current form, especially Damien, how he's playing with Fulham, very well. I'm sure if he decided [to return] then the manager would have no problem in inviting him back."

Although Andrews misses out on Wednesday's friendly with Poland with a quadriceps injury, he welcomes the challenge from the younger midfielders, Wigan's James McCarthy, Hull's David Meyler and Jeff Hendrick of Derby, who now have an opportunity to stake their claim for a starting spot.

He said: “With the progression of Irish football, we need new players in the squad. I've long been an admirer of James McCarthy, I've played a lot of football with Glenn Whelan, David Meyler comes into the equation as well. The future is looking bright and I'm certainly looking forward and hopeful that I still have a part to play.

“I think [Jeff Hendrick] is a fantastic player, a great prospect. With the likes of myself, James, David Meyler, I certainly need to be on my toes."

While last year was on to forget for Irish football fans, crashing out of the European Championships with a whimper and a record defeat to Germany in Dublin, Andrews was the stand-out player in Poland and was delighted to be recognised with the Player of the Year prize.

"It really did send shivers down my spine when he read out the likes of Paul McGrath, Roy Keane, Steve Staunton. These are household names in Irish football and to be associated in the same breath as those players is very humbling," he said.

He also confirmed that he is on track to be fit for the Republic’s make or break Group C double-header with Sweden and Austria in March.

"I'm confident I'll be back, it’s a muscle injury I haven't had before. I'll certainly be working very hard to be back, the early signs are good, the scars healed quite nicely so I’m hopeful to be back before that, to get fit and strong and to be ready for selection."

The Republic of Ireland host Poland in a friendly international at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday February 6.