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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 17:59 UK

Trapattoni opts for two debutants

Glenn Whelan
Glenn Whelan will play in central midfield for the Republic
Rep of Ireland v Serbia
Date: Saturday 24 May
Kick-off: 1945 BST
Venue: Croke Park
BBC Coverage: Updates on the BBC Sport website

New Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni will give debuts to QPR's Damien Delaney and Stoke's Glenn Whelan in Saturday's friendly against Serbia.

West Brom keeper Dean Kiely returns to the side at Croke Park after a five-year absence while Richard Dunne and Robbie Keane will also start.

However Aiden McGeady misses the game because of a knock while John O'Shea is also unlikely to feature.

Over 63,000 tickets have been sold for Trapattoni's first game in charge.

McGeady picked up an injury in Celtic's win over Dundee United on Thursday which clinched the Scottish Premier League title.

QPR midfielder Martin Rowlands is also ruled out of Saturday's game because of injury.

606: DEBATE

Thirty-seven-year-old Kiely will be earning his ninth cap while Stephen Kelly and Paul McShane will join Dunne and debutant Delaney in defence.

Liam Miller and Whelan have been selected in central midfield, flanked by Damien Duff on the right and Stephen Hunt on the opposite side.

Captain Keane will operate in attack alongside Kevin Doyle.

Darren O'Dea is still expected to link up with the Republic squad ahead of Saturday's game but McGeady will miss the game and he is also unlikely to feature against Colombia at Craven Cottage on Thursday.

Twenty-six-year-old Delaney will make his Republic debut after earning his first call-up to the senior squad.

Delaney joined QPR in January after an impressive couple of years at Hull City.

I had 10 days' break and no matter what I do in that 10 days, that's all personal stuff to me

Robbie Keane

Whelan has been capped at all underage levels for the Republic and he has also acted as skipper in several of the grades.

The Dubliner achieved promotion to the English Premier League last month with Stoke City, the club he joined from Sheffield Wednesday in January.

O'Shea has not been named in the starting line-up and may not feature at all after Manchester United's Champions League triumph.

Republic captain Keane and Dunne were excused from the recent training camp in Portugal and the Tottenham striker defended his absence from the trip.

"I spoke with the manager and Liam Brady and the club wanted me to have 10 days' break," said Keane.

"The club was supposed to go to South Korea and I didn't have to go on that, but then it was cancelled at the last minute, so they wanted me to rest because I have played so many games this season.

"I had 10 days' break and no matter what I do in that 10 days, that's all personal stuff to me."


Republic of Ireland: Kiely (West Brom), Kelly (Birmingham City), Dunne (Manchester City), McShane (Sunderland), Delaney (QPR), Duff (Newcastle United), Miller (Sunderland), Whelan (Stoke City), Hunt (Reading), Keane (Tottenham Hotspurs), Doyle (Reading).




see also
Lagos 1-3 Republic of Ireland
20 May 08 |  Internationals
Republic come from behind to draw
18 May 08 |  Internationals
Republic call up Carlisle keeper
17 May 08 |  Internationals
Trapattoni expects trio to return
07 May 08 |  Internationals


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