Kerr urges Dunne to be more vocal for Republic

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The Independent Online

Brian Kerr, the Republic of Ireland manager, wants his recalled central defender Richard Dunne to be more vocal in organising the players around him.

Brian Kerr, the Republic of Ireland manager, wants his recalled central defender Richard Dunne to be more vocal in organising the players around him.

It was almost exactly a year ago that Manchester City's Dunne won the last of his 20 caps for Ireland. Since then he has been kept on the sidelines by a combination of poor form and injuries. However, Dunne, will start in Ireland's friendly against Croatia at Lansdowne Road tomorrow after some superb performances this season with City.

The 25-year-old returned to the squad for last month's World Cup qualifying matches with France and the Faroe Islands, but was forced out in the build-up because of a calf injury.

With Newcastle's Andy O'Brien out with a hamstring injury, Dunne will partner the Republic's captain, Kenny Cunningham, in central defence with the demand from Kerr that he provide more of a vocal, as well as physical, input.

"I think he has played well this year," said Kerr. "[But] he is not always the most vocal of centre-halves and not the best organiser of players.

"He is inclined to get on with his own job, in tackling and clearing the ball, but he doesn't play the game of a loudmouth centre-half and I feel there are times he needs to be like that.

"He needs to be more of a boss of the players around him in his demand for the defence to be tight. It's something I've spoken to him about and he understands, but sometimes starting to take on that responsibility comes naturally, depending on the team you're playing in."

Kerr is determined to end the international season on a high, with the game with Croatia the 13th of this calendar year. Ireland have won six and drawn five, with just one defeat.

Kerr is without O'Brien and his Newcastle team-mate Stephen Carr, as well as Charlton's Matt Holland and Andy Reid of Nottingham Forest, who all have injuries, while Manchester United's Roy Keane is rested. A debut looks certain to be handed to the Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott.

Kerr said: "This is our last chance of experimentation prior to our next [World Cup] qualifier against Israel in March. But we will be looking to win to keep our momentum going."

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