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Total Recall: Andy Reid welcomed back to international fold after five-year absence

For so long a running joke among Irish fans, the man who challenged Giovanni Trapattoni has been given a lifeline by Noel King.

Andy Reid back in 2008.
Andy Reid back in 2008.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

HE MAY WELL have accepted that the days in a green jersey were long gone but, five years on from his last involvement, Andy Reid is back in the Ireland squad.

One of a number of high profile fall-outs during the Trapattoni era, Reid felt the wrath of the Italian back in September 2008 after a World Cup 2010 qualifier with Georgia in Mainz, Germany.

Having recorded a 2-1 win in the opening game of the campaign, a number of the Ireland players celebrated the result in their Wiesbaden team hotel with a couple of beers while talented guitarist led the sing-song into the early hours.

When Trap decided it was time for bed, the Dubliner reportedly challenged his boss and has found himself in international exile ever since.

Ireland press conferences regularly witnessed Trap bat away questions about the player but as the years wore on, they became less and less frequent.

Now 31, Reid has started the season in terrific form at Nottingham Forest, who sit fifth in the Championship, and was today handed a surprise opportunity to meet up with some old friends for the final two qualifiers of this unsuccessful campaign.

The player himself will have no doubt been caught off-guard when news reached him as caretaker boss Noel King admitted that he hadn’t had the chance to contact the former Spurs man.

“I didn’t get to speak to Andy so I’ll ring him today,” King told reports at FAI headquarters in Abbottstown.

It has been manic with so many people to get around to see. Going to the matches and travelling as well, it’s just impossible to speak to everybody. I have spoken to quite a large number.

“I’ve made enquiries about him to several people. He is doing very well at Forest, has trimmed down, is in very good condition and is playing very well. I like him as a player, a lot of people do. He’s technically very smart and I’ll be glad to have him in the group.”

imageReid goes past Bastian Schweinsteiger in 2007. Credit: INPHO/Donall Farmer

King also attempted to resolve the complicated Stephen Ireland situation but was told by the player’s agent that, although he is interested in making a long-awaited comeback sometime in the future, his current aim is to concentrate on rediscovering his club form with Stoke.

Today’s 26-man squad list for games against Germany and Kazakhstan next month did throw up the names of Darron Gibson, Anthony Stokes and Kevin Doyle, however. For various reasons, all three man have been absent from the international scene for significant parts of the last regime.

At Euro 2012, Everton midfielder Gibson took offence to being overlooked when Trapattoni opted instead for then unattached Paul Green.

Clearly frustrated, the Derry native chose to put his Ireland career on hold but made himself available once again earlier this month and King has brought him back into the fray.

“I’ve seen Darron over a couple of years,” said King. “I saw him last season for Everton against Man City and he was the outstanding player on the park. I spoke to him and he’s keen to come back so it seems an obvious and easy one to bring back.”

Not so long ago seen as the first choice striker alongside Robbie Keane, Doyle’s career has taken a nosedive in the past couple of years leading to his omission from several squads but the experienced Wolves striker, plying his trade in England’s third tier, is obviously valued by the interim manager.

“Kevin has a great passion for the country. I’ve been looking at Wolves quite a bit. He has had a great career, loves playing for Ireland there’s no doubt about that.

All these players are picked with one thing in mind – to try and get two victories if we can possibly do that.”

The only active Irish representative in the the group stages of the Champions League this season, Anthony Stokes is arguably playing the best football of his career at Celtic.

The 25-year-old has nailed down a regular place under Neil Lennon this season – scoring four goals for the Hoops and starting in the defeat to AC Milan at the San Siro.

“He has played fantastically well, particularly in Europe, which is akin to international football.

“I know him from the U21s, he seems to be progressing all the time and has established himself now at Celtic. I spoke to him and he’s delighted to come in.”

Poll: Which returning Irish player are you happiest to see?

Old faces recalled to Ireland squad for World Cup qualifiers

About the author:

Ben Blake

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