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Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 18:44 UK

Gibson included in Republic team

World Cup 2010 qualifying Group Eight: Rep of Ireland v Cyprus
Venue: Croke Park Date: Wednesday, 15 October Kick-off: 1945 BST Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website

Darron Gibson
Darron Gibson will be earning his third cap on Wednesday night

Manchester United youngster Darron Gibson will start for the Republic of Ireland in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Cyprus at Croke Park.

With Andy Reid again not included in Giovanni Trapattoni's starting line-up, Gibson will play in central midfield alongside Glenn Whelan.

Damien Duff's return after injury means that Stephen Hunt drops out of the side after starting against Montenegro.

Paul McShane replaces the injured Steve Finnan in the defence.

Gibson will be earning his third cap after impressing for a Republic of Ireland XI in the 2-0 friendly victory over Nottingham Forest last Thursday.

The Derry lad wasn't included in the Republic's original squad for Wednesday's game but he was drafted into the panel on Friday.

The Manchester United player is preferred to Andy Reid and Liam Miller who had been expected to replace the injured Steven Reid in the central midfield role.

The first reason is Gibson's height, the second is he plays with confidence
Giovanni Trapattoni on Gibson's selection

The fact that Gibson stands at 6ft, four and five inches respectively taller than Miller and Reid, appears to have proved significant.

Trapattoni said: "At the moment, we are missing Steven Reid and his physical aspect. Also, we need big players.

"Robbie Keane is not big, but springs well, and Kevin Doyle also.

"Aiden McGeady is little, Damien Duff is little. In international football, teams score goals from high balls.

"The first reason is Gibson's height, the second is he plays with confidence.

"He doesn't play very often, but he plays for Manchester United, and Manchester United is a very important team.

"He is confident on the ball. He plays the easy ball and he looks before the ball comes. For me, that is a good quality."

Gibson has made just a single senior appearance for United this season, as a substitute in the 3-1 Carling Cup third round victory over Middlesbrough last month.


In addition, Whelan has enjoyed little more football in recent weeks at Stoke.

McShane, currently on loan at Hull, has been drafted into the back four but it's not yet clear whether he will operate at right-back or centre-half.

Concerns over the pace and power of Cyprus left-winger Efstathios Aloneftis mean that John O'Shea could switch to the flank.

The Cypriots go into the game after drawing on Saturday in Georgia which followed last month's unlucky 2-1 home defeat by world champions Italy

Coach Angelos Anastasiades is without suspended midfielder Constantinos Charalambides while Michael Chrysostomos is out with a hip injury.

There are also fitness doubts over midfielder Marios Nikolaou plus strikers Michael Constantinou and Yiasoumis Yiasoumi.

Cyprus defeated the Republic 5-2 in Nicosia two years ago and drew 1-1 12 months later to wreck the Irish side's European Championship qualifying campaign.

Trapattoni's side will go to the top of their World Cup group if they beat the Cypriots.

Republic of Ireland: Given, Dunne, Kilbane, O'Shea, McShane, McGeady, Duff, Whelan, Gibson, Keane, Doyle.

see also
Keane aims to avenge Cyprus flop
14 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Trapattoni rejects Reid row talk
13 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Montenegro 0-0 Rep of Ireland
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Republic draw delights Trapattoni
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Pick your Rep of Ireland XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Georgia 1-2 Republic of Ireland
06 Sep 08 |  Internationals

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