Giovanni Trapattoni says he has no worries about starting Richard Dunne in the World Cup qualifier against Sweden in Dublin on Friday night.
The 33-year-old, who has not played a competitive game for his country since Euro 2012, will partner John O’Shea in central defence having convinced the Italian that the QPR man has recoved from the hip and groin injuries that kept him out of action last season.
“We had to think a lot about him because of his injury,” Trapattoni told reporters ahead of the game. “Also, he was without a club. I said I will follow him because it’s important that he stays fit. I saw him playing well in a [QPR] game.”
With regular starter Aiden McGeady missing through injury, the Italian has opted for James McClean to start on the left side of midfield. The manager said the Wigan winger’s performance against Sweden during the 0-0 draw in Stockholm last March was key to that decision.
He said: “He played well [in Stockholm], he is strong, it’s going to be a tough physical game against Sweden, they are strong physically.
“Initially, I thought we’d play with four strikers,” he added, hinting that Simon Cox had been in the equation. “But after I thought three strikers is enough. During the game we can change, the other options would be very important.”
Trapattoni also confirmed that goalkeeper David Forde would start after missing the recent friendly with Wales with a knee injury, and that Stoke full-back Marc Wilson was “100 per cent okay”, having had a scan on a bruised foot earlier in the week.
The former Italy manager said: “Forde gives me confidence,” alluding to his commanding performance between the sticks in Stockholm that secured a 0-0 draw.
As expected, West Brom’s Shane Long will partner captain Robbie Keane up front and the manager was not concerned that the last-minute trip to Hull, on transfer deadline day for a deal that eventually fell through, had affected the striker.
“[I have] no [doubts] about him. Every month the agents try to change the clubs, also like [James] McCarthy for these young lads when they have the opportunity to change, it’s important that have opportunity to play. They have to be sure they can play in their positions,” he added.
Trapattoni acknowledged the importance of the double-header in terms of the overall campaign and said that he was "convinced" that Ireland had a good chance.
He said: “We are very conscious that the next two games we play are for our participation in the World Cup. I have watched the [Sweden] game again and I am convinced that we have a good chance to score and to win this game.
“In Stockholm we played very well. Now we need to repeat the same performance with commitment. With this we can think about the table to achieve qualification.”
Republic of Ireland XI to face Sweden
Forde, Coleman, Dunne, O'Shea, Wilson, Walters, McCarthy, Whelan, McClean, Keane (c), Long