By Peter Staunton
Darron Gibson says he is ready to play for Ireland again after the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni and believes Martin O’Neill is the right man to lead the Boys in Green towards Euro 2016.
The FAI dispensed with the services of Trapattoni last week following the consecutive defeats to Sweden and Austria which left Ireland on the brink of World Cup elimination with two matches still to play.
Gibson’s fellow Ulsterman O’Neill is now the front-running candidate to take Ireland through the two remaining World Cup fixture and the forthcoming European Championships qualification campaign.
“There are a few good names in the hat,” Gibson told Goal. “Obviously, Martin O’Neill is the favourite for it. I think he’d be a decent manager for Ireland.”
Gibson also cast his eye towards the others in the running, saying, “I’ve heard the likes of Mick McCarthy, Roy Keane; I don’t think any of them would be a bad manager.”
Keane and McCarthy clashed infamously on the eve of World Cup 2002 and Gibson himself has been in international exile since Ireland’s ill-fated Euro 2012 campaign.
The Everton man failed to make one appearance at the Poland-Ukraine showpiece and was considered unavailable to Trapattoni from then until the end of his reign. With the Italian now out of the picture, Gibson is ready to return to the Ireland fold.
“I’m available,” he said. “I don’t know who is picking the squad but I am available.”
Despite his own hiatus from the national team, Gibson is pleased with the way in which the squad has been replenished since the Euros.
“Over the last six months younger players have started to come through," he said. "More young players have started to come through. That’s natural progression.”
Ireland face Germany and Kazakhstan in mid-October in World Cup qualification with the squad scheduled to be announced on Friday September 27.
Gibson would widely be expected to take his place under any new regime beside Everton team-mate James McCarthy, a £13m signing from Wigan. The duo may yet strike up a midfield partnership for club and country but, owing to Gibson’s pre-season injury trouble, they have not yet been acquainted.
“I’ve not had a chance to speak to him. I’ve been injured, I’ve not seen him. When he’s been training, I’ve been in the gym and when he’s been in the gym I’ve been outside.
“But hopefully I’ll be fit enough to play some part on Saturday.”
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