King to keep Ireland cards close to his chest until matchday

NOEL KING WILL break with Giovanni Trapattoni’s tradition and keep his Ireland team under wraps until shortly before kick-off against Germany.

Although Ireland’s World Cup hopes are effectively dead, the interim manager has no intention of showing his hand ahead of Friday night’s trip to Cologne.

Trapattoni, who was sacked last month following defeats against Sweden and Austria, was often criticised for giving opponents a sneak peak at his plans by announcing the starting 11 at his pre-match press conference.

Speaking following his first training session in Malahide today, King said that he is keeping an open mind on his team but that every player in the 23-man squad was included for a particular purpose.

Following the withdrawal of Keiren Westwood and Jon Walters through injury yesterday, there were no fresh concerns today although Damien Delaney, Ciaran Clark, Aiden McGeady and Kevin Doyle all sat out training.

Shane Long, Anthony Pilkington and Marc Wilson are all due to join the squad tonight as will Robbie Keane who scored two goals for the LA Galaxy last night.

“There’s two games coming alongside each other which will be different I would imagine in style and tempo,” King said. “The squad has been picked for those two games.

Everybody in the 23 squad is in. They’re not in just to come and have a trip. We did reduce the squad and it’s difficult reducing the squad, so everyone who is there is there for a reason. Whether that reason is a full 90 minutes, a half performance, a game against Kazakhstan, a half game against Kazakhstan, a half team against Germany, that will unfold. I don’t know yet.

King has already showed his intent by recalling Andy Reid, Darron Gibson, Anthony Stokes and Kevin Doyle from their international exile and he says that he’s under no obligation to follow Trapattoni’s lead when it comes to picking a team or tactics.

“The team is going to be picked from my head, from the staff’s head, from talking to people, looking at performances in training, looking at Germany and  seeing who is well suited to do certain jobs on the park. That will be the team.

If that happens to be the same team who went out the last game — well it can’t be [due to suspensions] — but if it was, that would just be pure coincidence.

He added: “I’ll look at the Germans and look at what we have that will cater for the occasion on the night. That’s how the team will be picked.”

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