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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Trap likens new boy Pilkington to Damien Duff

The Norwich winger is set to make his senior debut against Poland on February 6.

Pilkington wearing the green of Norwich.
Pilkington wearing the green of Norwich.
Image: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

AFTER NAMING ANTHONY Pilkington in his squad for the first time, Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has sung the praises of his new player.

The Norwich City winger was one of five uncapped players – along with Derby trio Richard Keogh, Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon and goalkeeper Stephen Henderson – in a 26-man panel for the international friendly with Poland on February 6.

There have been increasing calls for the 24-year-old’s inclusion after a series of impressive displays alongside Wes Hoolahan as part of Chris Hughton’s Norwich City this season.

Trapattoni didn’t travel to Dublin for today’s announcement after his sister died late last night and speaking on a conference call this evening, the Italian gave his opinion of Pilkington.

“He is a great player with a lot of potential, and somebody that we’re most interested in,” Trapattoni said. “We’ve been following him for a long time. We’re obviously without Damien Duff, but he’s the sort of player that has the ability to play on both the right and the left.

He’s good, and well known for his goal scoring ability, and  I think that will certainly add something, but it’s not just that- technically he’s extremely good, and tactically aware on the pitch also. This makes me really look forward to having him in the squad.”

English-born Pilkington, who has one Ireland cap at U21 level, expressed his intention to play for the Boys in Green back in December and Trapattoni says the player made it clear that he is relishing the opportunity to make the step up to international football.

“He has made it clear that he wants to play for Ireland, and that’s very positive for the country- and for him. We are really looking forward to working with him.”

Next month’s game is the final chance to test out new players and systems before the World Cup double-header with Sweden and Austria in March and when asked about who is likely to feature at the Aviva Stadium, Trapattoni added:

Definitely two or three. I think they can start the game, because it will be a good test for them. I am sure two or three will start the game. Sammon, Hendrick and also Pilkington (are the most likely to feature).”

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Ben Blake

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