International Football: Charlton revives Quinn's American dream

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The Independent Online
NIALL QUINN, the most prominent of the strikers injured and missing from the Republic of Ireland's side in the Netherlands tonight, has been offered a marvellous World Cup incentive by Jack Charlton who says he is prepared to take him to the United States even if he does not play again this season.

Charlton's paucity of fit and available goalscorers - both John Aldridge and Tony Cascarino withdrew from his squad - is evidenced by a recall for Tommy Coyne. In the Tilburg Stadium the Motherwell man earns a 10th cap as his team's lone attacker.

Quinn and Aldridge are Charlton's preferred choice up front, but the Irish manager dismissed the Manchester City totem from his plans when Quinn damaged cruciate knee ligaments against Sheffield Wednesday last November, 10 days after helping his country clinch their place in the World Cup finals.

His American dream looked to have died there and then and doctors told him to forget all hope of a working summer. But, ahead of schedule, Quinn has returned to training with City's reserves and is praying that the club sanction his release.

So is Charlton, who is prepared to take a risk with his 6ft 4in line leader because his physical presence 'would cause apprehension in the opposition. I would take him along even if he has not played a competitive game but Manchester City pay his wages and the decision must be theirs,' Charlton said.

'If they decide it's best for Niall to have no competitive football to prepare for next season then that is fine by me.'

The player is hopeful though cautious. 'Jack has been a great help in my rehabilitation to aim for the World Cup finals,' he said. 'Whether I go or not is down to the club.'

While a lengthy absentee list again deprives Charlton of his strongest side at least he is better off than he was for the previous friendly, with Russia in Dublin. Two of the Aston Villa quartet return - there is no place for Ray Houghton - and Gary Kelly and Phil Babb, two of the newcomers to make outstanding first impressions last month, are retained.

The other, Bolton's Jason McAteer, drops down to substitute for a game that should be a more formidable test of Ireland's durability.

Of the players available to the Dutch manager, Dick Advocaat, only his captain, Jan Wouters, is missing through injury.

NETHERLANDS (probable): De Goey (Feyenoord); Koeman (Barcelona), Valckx (Sporting Lisbon), F de Boer (Ajax), Jonk (Internazionale), Rijkaard, Davids, Overmars (Ajax), Bergkamp (Internazionale), Roy (Foggia) R de Boer (Ajax).

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Bonner (Celtic); Kelly (Leeds), Moran (Blackburn) Babb (Coventry), Phelan (Manchester City), McGoldrick (Arsenal), Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), Whelan (Liverpool), Townsend, Staunton, (Aston Villa), Coyne (Motherwell).

Referee: H Strampe (Ger).

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