McClean on plane as Republic of Ireland announce squad for Euro 2012 finals in the summer



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 



Leicester defender Sean St Ledger (pictured above) is among the 23-man squad picked by Republic of Ireland for Poland & Ukraine


James McClean is among those selected as Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni narrows his list down to 23 players ahead of this summer's Euro 2012 tournament.

The 23-year-old winger has made a massive impression in his first season in the Premier League at Sunderland since bursting onto the scene at the end of December since the arrival of manager and fellow Irishman Martin O'Neill while he made his senior debut for his country in February. The former Derry City player, who cost the Black Cats just £500,000 last summer when moving from the Irish league, received a huge standing ovation from supporters when he came on as a second-half substitute against the Czech Republic during his last outing in a friendly.

Wigan Athletic's James McCarthy withdrew himself from consideration for the squad after his father was diagnosed with cancer. In a statement issued by the Football Association of Ireland, McCarthy said: "I have made the very difficult decision to withdraw my name from selection from the Euro 2012 squad following the diagnosis of my father with cancer and an ongoing requirement for treatment. I have discussed this with the manager. He was very understanding and I thank him sincerely for that. I take this opportunity to re-affirm my complete commitment to playing for the Republic of Ireland. It is a huge honour and source of great pride for me and my family. Despite not being present, I would like to wish the manager and my team-mates every success at the tournament and hope that Irish fans can understand the reason for my decision at this difficult time."

Speaking at the announcement of the squad, Italian boss Trapattoni said he had assured McCarthy that he remained part of his plans for the future with his place not hindered.

The remainder of the squad was named very much as anticipated with Richard Dunne and Stephen Hunt both fit after overcoming injuries which have sidelined them from club duty in the final weeks of the Premier League season. Darron Gibson and Keith Fahey are still currently battling back from injury although are expected to recover fully before the beginning of the tournament for the Irish on 10th June against Croatia. Their other group games are against Spain on 14th June and Italy four days later.

Sunderland's McClean was thrilled by the news of his inclusion which was delivered by a phone call from Trapattoni himself the following Monday morning. The Sunderland player tweeted immediately afterwards: "Absolutely honoured and couldn't be happier to have been called up to represent my country at the Euros. No better feeling in the world. Thankyou very much."

The Republic will continue their preparations for this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine by playing friendlies against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday 26th May and against Denmark two days later.

Full Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2012:  Shay Given (Aston Villa), Kieron Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Darren O'Dea (Celtic), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Keith Andrews (West Bromwich Albion), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Bromwich Albion), Jon Walters (Stoke City).

Stand-by:  Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Paul McShane (Crystal Palace), Paul Green (Unattached), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Andy Keogh (Millwall).  


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