Irish FA open to Pennant's bid for senior cap with Trapattoni

Republic of Ireland chiefs would consider Jermaine Pennant's desire to play international football if he made contact.

The 28-year-old Stoke winger, who has represented England at under-21 level, has admitted he has given up hope of winning senior caps for the country of his birth and indicated he wants to turn instead to Ireland, for whom he believes he qualifies through his grandfather.

The player has not contacted the Football Association of Ireland, but it is understood his claims would be evaluated if he got in touch.

Pennant's comments came in an interview. He said: "My grandad is Irish, so there's a chance I can play for them. I'm not getting any younger and I would like to play international football. And who's to say Ireland can't get to the next World Cup? If I could be a part of that, then it would be great.

"Of course, I would love to play for England, but it has never happened and I don't think it is going to.

"That's not because of my ability, but maybe misdemeanours in the past have put a halt to that coming about."

Nottingham-born Pennant, whose former clubs include Arsenal, Birmingham and Liverpool, was jailed in 2005 for a drink-driving offence and, at one point, played a game wearing an electronic tag following his release. He has since rebuilt his career and is currently back in England after a spell with Real Zaragoza in Spain.

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has worked hard to increase the depth of his squad during his time in charge, with Pennant's Stoke team-mates Glenn Whelan, Marc Wilson and Jon Walters among the beneficiaries.

However, the Italian is currently well served for wide midfielders with Damien Duff, Aiden McGeady, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Hunt, Keith Fahey and Andy Keogh, and Everton youngster Seamus Coleman emerging as a real talent.

Trapattoni's men resume their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign at home to Macedonia later this month having endured mixed fortunes to date. Victories over Armenia and Andorra were followed by a defeat by Russia and a draw in Slovakia, and that has left them second in Group B behind the Russians on goal difference.

* The Premier League is attempting to stimulate further growth overseas by today launching of a three-year global tour of the league trophy.

The value of overseas television rights hit a new high last year with at least one third of the Premier League's TV money coming from foreign broadcasters.

The tour is run alongside sponsors Barclays and will begin in Abu Dhabi, travelling around the Middle East then on to Hong Kong and the Far East.

In 2011/12 and 2012/13 the tour will go to North America and Africa.