O'Shea trains with threadbare Republic squad
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has observed his squad at training today ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Greece at the Aviva.
Trapattoni didn't have enough players to go 11 v 11 at today's training session.
Sunderland's John O'Shea looks like he is over his injury though having played in the centre of defence with Ciaran Clark in their training game, while Hull loanee Robbie Brady played in a wide position.
Wigan's James McCarthy is expected to start the game in the centre of midfield having been praised by the manager.
McCarthy admits the best present he could wish for on his 22nd birthday would be to put a smile on his father’s face by helping the Republic of Ireland beat Greece.
The Republic, and their manager, are under pressure to pull off a win over the Greeks after their previous appearance at the Aviva Stadium ended in a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Germany.
Trapattoni received the backing of the Football Association of Ireland following the thrashing, which further enraged a public who called for the Italian’s head after their winless Euro 2012 campaign.
Things may have been different in Poland this summer had McCarthy been at Trapattoni’s disposal. Just before the tournament, Wigan’s midfield lynchpin had to withdraw from the Republic squad after his father Willie was diagnosed with cancer.
Willie often attends his son’s matches in between having treatment for his illness and may fly over for the game on Wednesday – the day after McCarthy turns 22.
“Yes, definitely,” McCarthy said when asked if an ideal present would be to put a smile on his father’s face.
“He is happy to see me playing football. He always wants me to do well. He has always been there. He always wants me to enjoy my football.
“He has always been brilliant with me, and he is proud of me. He enjoys it.”
Despite Trapattoni’s reluctance to draft in younger players, McCarthy seems to be one of the Republic boss’ first names on the team sheet thanks to his form for club and country.
McCarthy, who made his debut for Hamilton at the age of 15, has started all five internationals since the Republic exited Euro 2012 and he is likely to be in the Italian’s starting XI again on Wednesday night.
McCarthy admits it would be a dream come true to represent his adopted country - he was born in Scotland – at the next World Cup having missed out on the European Championship.
Whether his manager is capable of taking the Republic there is another matter which has been up for debate in Ireland of late.
Several players have turned down the opportunity to play for their country, whether it be due to retirement, or because of disagreements with the Italian, and reports continue to circulate about a breakdown in relationship between the 73-year-old and his players.
Trapattoni’s apparent reluctance to draft in some of the Republic’s rising stars has also caused consternation, but McCarthy remains fully behind the man at the helm.
“I think he’s the right man,” McCarthy said.
“He has achieved so much for Ireland. The result against Germany wasn’t acceptable, but I think he will kick us on again.
“He got us all up for the Faroe Islands game and hopefully we can get back to back wins now.
“He will blend the kids in gradually. He won’t just throw everyone in. He can’t. That’s not the right thing to do.
“His communication is fine. We all understand what we need to do and what we have to.”