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Dublin: 13°C Monday 14 June 2021
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4-4-2 Ireland's best bet against Sweden -- Tardelli

Ireland assistant Marco Tardelli said James McCarthy faces “an important year” after sealing a deadline-day move to Everton.

Sticking together: Everton's new signing James McCarthy is welcomed by Toffees team-mate Seamus Coleman.
Sticking together: Everton's new signing James McCarthy is welcomed by Toffees team-mate Seamus Coleman.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI IS likely to stick with his tried and trusted 4-4-2 for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Sweden.

Ireland trained again in Malahide this morning as thoughts turned to the starting XI for a game which will go a long way towards deciding their Group C fate.

With Aiden McGeady out injured, Trap will have to improvise slightly in midfield but assistant manager Marco Tardelli said they are unlikely to use the 4-4-1-1 formation tried against Wales last month.

Maybe it’s possible to use this style with other teams but I think against Sweden we need to use two strikers.

Tardelli refused to be drawn on whether Jon Walters and Simon Cox are both likely to start in wide positions but if Ireland do go with two up front captain Robbie Keane, who flew in from America yesterday, will almost certainly be the focal point.

“Robbie Keane is important for the young players and for the team. When Robbie is on the pitch, the team is more confident. He is important for us.”

He added: “We need four points. That is very important to keep the qualification hopes alive.”

Marc Wilson remains the major doubt with an ankle injury. The Stoke City defender sat out again this morning though Tardelli said he is “confident” that Wilson will be ready in time.

Goalkeepers David Forde and Darren Randolph also skipped part of the session to spend some extra time in the gym but otherwise it was a full-strength squad with Shane Long and James McCarthy both taking part following their mixed fortunes on transfer deadline day.

Long was in Malahide for yesterday’s first day of camp but then flew out to England in the hope of completing an 11th-hour move from West Brom to Hull City.

“In his mind something [was going to] happen, but these are professional players,” Tardelli said as he brushed off concerns that the striker might take time to get over the disappointment of the move falling through.

I think he will be [mentally] fit for the match. He is happy.

This is football. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not.

McCarthy had a chance to catch up with his new club-mate Seamus Coleman after Wigan finally signed off on his transfer to Everton in a deal thought to be worth £13 million.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for him,” Tardelli said. “It’s an important year for him. It can decide if he can be a very good player or just a player. I think James can become a very good player.”

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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