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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 12:26 GMT
Staunton calls up five newcomers
Republic boss Steve Staunton
Staunton has brought in five new players
New Republic of Ireland manager Steve Staunton has given first senior call-ups to five players for the friendly against Sweden on 1 March.

Manchester City's Stephen Ireland and Bolton's Joey O'Brien are named in Staunton's 23-man squad.

Tottenham full-back Stephen Kelly, Sunderland winger Liam Lawrence and Brighton goalkeeper Wayne Henderson have also been included.

"The time is right to give some new lads the opportunity," said Staunton.

Staunton has also included Jonathan Douglas, the Blackburn midfielder on loan with Leeds at present, whose only other two previous caps were won in 2004.

Reading striker Kevin Doyle, who was included in the squad for Brian Kerr's final two games in charge last October, is one of six non-capped players.

Manchester United midfielder John O'Shea and Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott are also in the 23, despite rib and back injuries at present.

I need to speak to the players first before I confirm anything
Steve Staunton on the Republic captaincy

Absentees include Norwich defender Gary Doherty while Andy Reid of Spurs and Celtic's Aiden McGeady are injured.

Staunton said his squad "has a nice blend of experience, youth and new faces".

He added: "I've said from day one this is what we have to look at. We have two friendly matches before the European Championships start, so it has to be done sooner rather than later."

Staunton has still to reveal who will succeed the now retired Kenny Cunningham as captain although Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given and Everton's Kevin Kilbane are thought to be the main candidates.

"We have thought about it but I need to speak to the players first before I confirm anything."

Staunton revealed he is also planning another friendly in May once the season is over, with the only other game on the agenda at present against Holland in August.

"We will have a game in May, other than that we will have a get together at some stage."

Henderson, who recently joined Brighton from Aston Villa, told BBC Southern Counties Radio he was "over the moon" to be called up.

"The whole point of me coming to Brighton was to get experience, play games and push to get into the squad - I'm so glad I've done it at last," he said.

"My goal now is to try and get a place on the bench. The Ireland coaching staff know me well, and know how hard I push myself."


Rep of Ireland squad: Given (Newcastle), Kenny (Sheff Utd), Henderson (Brighton), Breen (Sunderland), Harte (Levante), Finnan (Liverpool), A O'Brien (Portsmouth), Dunne (Man City), Miller (Leeds), Kilbane (Everton), Reid (Blackburn), Duff (Chelsea), Keane (Tottenham), Morrison (Crystal Palace), Kavanagh (Wigan), Doyle (Reading), Ireland (Man City), Elliott (Sunderland), Lawrence (Sunderland), J O'Brien (Bolton), Kelly (Tottenham), O'Shea (Man Utd), Douglas (Leeds).




SEE ALSO
Staunton starts with German trip
09 Feb 06 |  Internationals
Staunton may call up youngsters
17 Jan 06 |  Internationals
Staunton aims to silence doubters
16 Jan 06 |  Internationals


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