Noel King has shaken up the Irish squad by recalling exiled Andy Reid, Kevin Doyle, Darron Gibson, and Celtic’s Anthony Stokes in his selection announcement for the final qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan.
Reid has enjoyed a super start to the season for Notts Forest and his inclusion, the first in five years, is a statement of intent from King that he would back his comments that everyone starts with clean slate.
Everton’s Darron Gibson returns to the fold as he intimated in his recent comments to the press following Trapattoni’s departure.
Kevin Doyle, another deemed to have been treated harshly by Trapattoni, is also back in demand.
There’s no room for Stephen Ireland though, despite King travelling to see Stoke in action twice in recent days.
There had been hints that Ireland might also earn a call with King having watched Stoke twice in the last week but it hasn’t transpired. According to reports King was in contact with Ireland’s agent and the player doesn’t feel ready just yet as he battles to break into the first team at the Britannia Stadium.
Simon Cox, David Meyler, Darren O’Dea, Andy Keogh and Conor Sammon are all dropped while Paul Green retains his place.
Cuiriously, Robbie Brady is named despite reports that a hernia problem will rule him out, though King intimated that he may lose the services of the Hull man.
With suspensions to some key players such as Richard Dunne and John O’Shea, there was scope for caretaker boss King to introduce new names. Following Trapattoni’s exit, our final game with Kazakhstan could now entice Irish supporters to attend when it was previously in danger of being played in front of a sparse crowd at the Aviva Stadium.
However, there’s also the little matter of a trip to Cologne to face Germany where another hiding could send our FIFA rankings into an even worse downward spiral.
King has set about revitalising the squad with his recalls and may well put a final bounce in the step on what has been a pretty miserable journey to World Cup 2014.
Ireland squad v Germany and Kazakhstan:
Forde, Westwood, Randolph, O’Brien, Sean St Ledger, Marc Wilson, Coleman, Kelly, Clark, McShane, Gibson, Whelan, McCarthy, Green, A Reid, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Brady, Quinn, Hoolahan, Long, Keane, Walters, Doyle, Stokes.