Trap convinced by Dunne and McClean

Trap convinced by Dunne and McClean

Trap convinced by Dunne and McClean

Giovanni Trapattoni has put his faith in Richard Dunne and James McClean as his reign as Republic of Ireland boss approaches a defining moment.

The 74-year-old Italian had indicated earlier this week that 33-year-old stalwart Dunne would return to the heart of his defence for Friday night's World Cup qualifier against Sweden for the first time in a competitive game since the Euro 2012 finals.

But he sprang a surprise when he named his starting XI and included Wigan winger McClean in it as the injured Aiden McGeady's replacement.

Anthony Pilkington had been tipped to make a debut on the left, while striker Simon Cox was considered as an option, but it was 24-year-old McClean, discarded by Sunderland over the summer, who eventually got the nod after impressing in the corresponding fixture in Stockholm, a 0-0 draw in March.

Trapattoni said: "He played well, he is also physically strong and this game is a tough game - it will be a technical, but also a physical game against Sweden. They are strong physically.

"At first, I thought about playing with four strikers, but then I thought three strikers is already enough, and because also during the game the other options could be very important.

"During the game, I can also choose to have other tactical opportunities. That is the reason."

Dunne's return will add experience and know-how to a defence which has repeatedly laid the foundation for the Republic's better results under Trapattoni.

The manager still needed assurances over the decision to select a man who because of injury played only 25 minutes of football last season - and that came in June.

Discussing Dunne, now at QPR, Trapattoni said: "I said at the last conference, I have to think very well about Richard because firstly, it was a long injury and secondly, he was without a club.

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