'We must believe we can qualify' - Trapattoni defiant on Ireland's World Cup hopes

The Italian coach believes in the ability of his squad and has called upon his players to demonstrate their quality in the forthcoming summer fixtures
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni believes that he has named a squad with "the ability to compete" ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands as well as the friendly matches against England, Georgia and Spain. 

Speaking at the squad announcement press conference in Carrick-on-Shannon to mark the town's 400-year celebrations, the Italian was still clearly frustrated about Ireland's last-gasp Group C draw against Austria in March and is looking for his squad to show their quality in the summer fixtures.

"We must believe we can still qualify," he said. "In the last game we showed our quality and only for the 37 seconds after 92 minutes against Austria, we would be in a good position to finish above Sweden and below Germany."

Trapattoni has called up Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington, who is in line to win his first cap, but is nonetheless disappointed to be unable to call upon several key players who are missing through injury.

Wolves striker Kevin Doyle and the Aston Villa centre back pairing of Ciaran Clark and Richard Dunne are all absent due to injury but Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan should be available despite recent concerns over his fitness.

"There is no chance of Ciaran Clark or Kevin Doyle being fit," continued Trapattoni. "Richard Dunne is a big question for us and if he play one or two more league games we would consider him but we have four or five more defenders to choose from."

The former Juventus boss also praised recent FA Cup winner James McCarthy, who keeps his place in the squad, and insists that the midfielder has the "potential" to be a "great" player. 

"James is a little bit shy," he said. "But has great vision, strong character and has the potential to one day be like the great English players like [Michael] Carrick."

A Giovanni Trapattoni press conference wouldn't be complete without the usual questions regarding the 74-year-old's future but he was adamant that speculation linking him with the Napoli job is meaningless and that he remains committed to the Irish job.

"I am proud to be the Irish manager," he declared. "And only God can know what will happen, but I am 100 per cent focused on Ireland."

Ireland will take on England on May 29 before hosting Georgia at the Aviva Stadium on June 2. The Boys in Green will then play a World Cup qualifier at home against the Faroe Islands on June 7 before travelling to the United States to play Spain on June 11.

Full Ireland squad
Forde, Westwood, Randolph, O'Shea, St Ledger, Delaney, R. Keogh, Wilson, Coleman, Kelly, O’Dea, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy, Green, Hendrick, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Brady, Meyler, A. Keogh, Keane, Long, Sammon, Walters, Cox, Hoolahan