Shane Long ruled out of Republic of Ireland international
Shane Long has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovakia tonight after suffering a calf strain in training.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni yesterday named the in-form West Brom frontman in his starting line-up instead of Robbie Keane's usual partner Kevin Doyle, and spoke of the particular threat he would pose to the Slovakian defence.
However, he has been forced to change his plans and Doyle will start alongside Keane in the vital Group B clash.
Long will remain with the squad and could yet be involved in Tuesday night's clash with Russia in Moscow.
Trapattoni revealed during his pre-match press conference that part of the reason for initially selecting Long was the knee injury Doyle suffered on international duty towards the end of last season.
He and assistant boss Marco Tardelli watched the Wolves man play in last Saturday's 0-0 derby draw at Aston Villa, and while he showed no ill-effects, the Italian wanted to see for himself if he has recovered psychologically.
He said: "I wanted to see him to make sure there was no fear in his head about his injury. I don't see any fear in him at all.
"I have no doubt I will have the opportunity to play him maybe in the second half, and he can also be ready for Russia."
However, the call has come significantly earlier than either manager or player would have expected.
Doyle has been one of Ireland's most reliable performers under Trapattoni and has forged an excellent working relationship with Keane.
However, the manager will hope is fitness is such that he can manage two big games in the space of five days as the Republic attempt to top Group B and book their place in next summer's finals.
Long's withdrawal is a second blow for Trapattoni, who yesterday ruled long-serving full-back Kevin Kilbane out of both games because of a back strain.
Latest in Sport
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
Wow - what a weekend for British Motorcycle racing!
by Luke Wilkins
22 May 2013 05:00 AM
The dust is barely settling on the Premier League season and the bookies are looking to persuade us ...
by Gareth Purnell
22 May 2013 02:01 AM
Roy Hodgson shuts the England door on Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry
On-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois still believes in Chelsea youth policy
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
Manuel Pellegrini must decide on futures of Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott as Manchester City name starting date for new manager
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll delays over West Ham move
- 1 Exclusive: Woolwich attack suspect attended meetings of banned Islamist group - and were known by security services
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.