Giovanni Trapattoni has chosen to retain Robbie Keane as Republic of Ireland captain and will meet defenders Steve Finnan and Andy O'Brien in an attempt to persuade them to come out of international retirement.
The Italian's assistants, Liam Brady and Marco Tardelli, unveiled the Italian's first Republic of Ireland squad at the Football Association of Ireland's headquarters in Dublin yesterday. They announced a 40-man preliminary party which will be whittled down to 28 ahead of the training camp in Portugal in late May, with Trapattoni keen to involve Liverpool full-back Finnan and Bolton centre-back O'Brien in his future plans.
Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland, who were not involved in Steve Staunton's latter days in charge, were included in the squad while Brady said Trapattoni wanted Keane to remain as captain.
The squad includes seven players from Roy Keane's Sunderland, prompting questions over the uneasy relationship between Keane and Brady that stems from Keane's actions at the 2002 World Cup, which ended with Ireland playing without the Manchester United midfielder after he left the team's pre-tournament training camp.
Speaking last week in Dublin, Keane mocked Brady's appointment, labelling him as nothing more than a "translator" for Trapattoni, but the Arsenal academy director was keen to put personal differences aside.
"I was very surprised – that it took so long," Brady joked of Keane's insult. "You know as well as I do that Roy and myself go back a long way, with a difference in opinion of how things went in 2002. I took my stance, and in all probability what he had to say was down to that particular stance. I have to work with him, the new manager has to work with him. He's done a great job with Sunderland and it looks like they will stay up so I hope him, and his assistants, can develop the Ireland players who are with him.
"I think it's time now to forget about that. It's about Trapattoni, we have a campaign to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa and that's all that matters.
"My personal issue with Roy should be totally forgotten and that's what I'm doing from today."
Four former Ireland internationals were named to complete "Team Trap" with Alan Kelly returning as goalkeeping coach, while Mick Lawlor takes up the role as kit manager and Frank Stapleton and Mick Martin are involved in scouting.Reuse content