McClean could make competitive debut in Kazakhstan

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trappattoni has alluded that Sunderland’s James McClean could be in line for his first competitive start away to Kazakhstan on Friday.

Ireland travel to the former Soviet Republic hoping to get their World Cup qualifying campaign off to the best possible start and the Italian suggested McClean could feature from the start.

“After his 90 minutes against Serbia, his position was clear,” Trapattoni said.

“We tried to play him differently but after 20 minutes I changed his position. Maybe in Kazakhstan McClean will play up with the two strikers. That is not a problem for him.

“We have also other players who can play in that position.

“The position is different (to where he usually plays), but he can also play there. We will wait and see what the condition of the other players is but he could play there.”

McClean burst on the scene with Sunderland last year as Martin O’Neill played him in almost every game since his arrival as manager.

The frequent nature of games helped McClean settle into the style of the Premier League following his move from League of Ireland club Derry City.

Despite the fantastic season endured at club level McClean never saw as much action as fans might have hoped with the Republic of Ireland.

Following his switch of allegiance from Northern Ireland to the Republic, McClean made his debut in a Lansdowne Road friendly against the Czech Republic in February.

The Derry born winger made a spritely debut and followed it up with another mature performance on the left wing against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Dublin in May.

Slightly surprisingly, Trappattoni opted to use him sparingly at Euro 2012 a few months later, with the Sunderland player only making one appearance as a substitute against Spain in Gdansk with the game all but over.

McClean has made six appearances for the Republic of Ireland so far in his young career and the news coming out of the Trappattoni camp this morning would suggest he may be in line for his first competitive start on Friday.

The game at the Ortalyk Tsentralnyi Stadium is the opening game of the World Cup qualifiers and both countries will be looking to get off to the best possible start in Astana.

Aidan McGeady and Robbie Keane will begin training with the team today after both were granted an extra day to fly to Dublin from Moscow and Los Angeles respectively.

The Ireland manager has no other injury worries at present for the match against a country currently ranked 145th in the wo


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