Jeff Hendrick earns his first start for Ireland as Trapattoni names his side to take on Spain in New York. Seamus Coleman starts on the right wing while Sammon partners Keane in attack.
A depleted squad flew to New York for Ireland’s last game of this end-of-season four match series. Eight players withdrew leaving Trapattoni with a largely inexperienced group for the clash at Yankee Stadium: Aiden McGeady (getting married), Wes Hoolahan, Jon Walters, Keiren Westwood (all injured) Marc Wilson (undergoing operation), Richard Dunne, John O’Shea (family bereavement), Glenn Whelan (rested) all miss out.
Paul McShane comes into the right back slot allowing Seamus Coleman to push onto the flank. A central-back pairing of Sean St Ledger and Darren O’Dea can expect a long night with Stephen Kelly completing the back four.
There’s a big chance for Jeff Hendrick to impress in a midfield partnership with James McCarthy. Trapattoni has urged both to secure big moves from their clubs over the close-season.
On the left wing, James McClean will feel hard done-by to lose out to firm Trap favourite Andy Keogh though surely we can expect to see the Derry youngster at some point.
Conor Sammon will link up with Robbie Keane in attack with Meyler, and Cox pushing for substitute roles.
Ireland will be up against it facing the world and European champions but there’s been a philosophy-switch since Euro 2012 with the likes of Coleman and McCarthy now advancing a more intelligent style than the long-ball game exploited so ruthlessly by the Spanish in Poland last summer.
It’s a lot to ask, but with a more footballing mindset, a weakened Irish side might just give a good account of themselves.
Republic of Ireland vs Spain:
Forde, McShane, St Ledger, O’Dea, Kelly, Hendrick, McCarthy, Coleman, Keogh, Keane, Sammon