Tardelli: McClean has Euro 2012 chance

PA Sport
James McClean
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James McClean

Marco Tardelli has refused to rule out James McClean's chances of forcing his way into the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 team.

The 23-year-old Sunderland winger has enjoyed a remarkable six months after emerging from the shadows under Martin O'Neill on Wearside and establishing himself as a first-team regular.

Ireland's assistant manager Tardelli said of McClean: "He is a good boy. He wants to work because he knows he needs to learn many things. He is strong physically and I think he will be for us a good player."

McClean's rise to prominence since his £350,000 summer move from Derry City has been little short of spectacular, and he was recognised at senior international level when he won his first cap as a substitute against the Czech Republic in February.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni has signalled his intention to work with the left-sided McClean on the right flank too, having seen him prosper when cutting inside for his club.

It remains to be seen how the manager will use him during the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, but asked if he still has time to win a place in the starting XI, Tardelli was non-committal.

He said: "I don't know. He is in the squad, but we have also other players like [Damien] Duff, like [Stephen] Hunt, like [Aiden] McGeady. Surely, he is the future, but maybe it is possible also this time."

Trapattoni and Tardelli put their players through a light training session at a sun-drenched Gannon Park in Malahide on Monday morning.

Defender John O'Shea was rested once again as he recovers from an ankle problem, while Keith Fahey and Kevin Foley, who are nursing groin and hamstring injuries respectively, worked away from the group once again, although both are expected to join in within the next 48 hours.

Skipper Robbie Keane was expected to arrive from the United States later on Monday with his hamstring strain still one of the major topics of discussion despite repeated reassurances that it will not be an issue.

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