'New faces freshen things up' - Kevin Doyle welcomes added competition in Ireland squad

The Wolves striker believes that the infusion of fresh players into the Irish squad is a welcome development and claims that it keeps people on their toes
Ireland striker Kevin Doyle has welcomed the infusion of new players in the squad despite making it more difficult for him to secure a starting spot.

The Wolves striker was a favourite of manager Giovanni Trapattoni for the last two qualifying campaigns. Indeed, the Italian coach once declared of Doyle: "When he’s fit, he plays". But now the ex-Reading forward’s place is far from secure as he vies with Shane Long, Jon Walters, Simon Cox, and, of course, captain Robbie Keane for a place in the team.

The Italian coach has also tinkered with his hitherto favoured 4-4-2 formation, adding an extra midfielder on occasion, meaning that all of the front-men may be fighting for just one place.

Now added to the mix are Derby's Conor Sammon, Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan, Robbie Brady of Hull City and midfielder Jeff Hendrick of Derby, all of whom should see some action in Wednesday's friendly against Poland at the Aviva.

"It's always nice to have new competition, new faces to freshen things up, whether tha'’s at club level or international level. We had maybe four years of a very similar squad, new people coming in now keeps everyone on their toes," Doyle told reporters in Dublin on Sunday.

"Every two years it's a cycle and new players come and make your job harder, but that's the way it should be. It makes it interesting talking to new people, training with new people, and I'm sure it's the same for the manager.

"Fans like to see new players get a chance and I’m sure they're all here to stay because they are all playing well for their clubs," added the 29-year-old.

The Wexford man was injured for the last two World Cup Group C qualifying games, the 6-1 defeat to Germany and a 4-1 win over Faroe Islands.

Before that, however, he came to Ireland's rescue in the opening qualifier, scoring a late winner after coming on as a substitute in the 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan in September.

That particular strike won Doyle the FAI International Goal of the Year and he joked that his mother helped him win the public vote.

"It's my mother. It costs her a fortune voting for that goal of the year one. It's nice to get awards. I'll take it.

"The two goals at the end of that game were massive to keep us in contention. It was a tough game and a couple of [their] results afterwards show it wasn't as straightforward as going out there and getting a result," he added.

Meanwhile, Doyle also revealed that he might have been facing Juventus in the Champions League next week instead of preparing for a clash with Leeds United in the npower Championship. Celtic were interested in signing Doyle on loan and it's a deal that he thought was going to happen.

"To be honest, the day or two before it I thought it was going to be done. I was pretty sure it was going to go ahead. Obviously, there was a crossing of wires. I thought Wolves wanted to get me off the wage bill and that wasn't the case," Doyle said.

"The chairman (Steve Morgan) assured me that wasn't the case. So be it. I stay at Wolves and try get a bit of form going because we are not in a good position at the moment.

"It would have been a fantastic opportunity for four or five months, which would have been the length of the loan, to play for a team that are in the Champions League, the last 16, and top of their league."