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Surely McClean worth letting out of the Irish Trap
THERE was a notable absentee when Giovanni Trapattoni announced his squad for the Republic of Ireland's friendly with the Czech Republic at the end of the month.
Despite a rapid rise to prominence and growing calls from across the Irish Sea to see James McClean involved, the Sunderland winger was omitted.
Trapattoni's assistant Marco Tardelli might not have seen the 22-year-old in full flow when he travelled to Middlesbrough on Wednesday night to see him in FA Cup action, but Trapattoni should already know enough about his talents.
McClean has tormented Premier League defences since his sudden arrival on to the top-flight stage when Martin O'Neill took over in early December. Yet Trapattoni has stuck to his guns and overlooked him.
Ireland's Italian boss is determined to stand by all of the players that secured qualification to the European Championships for this summer's finals.
And that, it seems, will prevent Sunderland's £350,000 wing-wizard from travelling to the Ukraine and Poland.
Trapattoni did include the likes of Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady in his 24-man squad which was announced yesterday, so he is not exactly short of wingers.
But if McClean keeps performing like he has for the majority of the matches he has played then surely it will be impossible for him to be overlooked.
He has that spark to win matches, even if he was to be used from the bench, to make an impact for Ireland. So he should at least be given an opportunity to show what he is capable of before Trapattoni's finals squad is named in June.
It is understandable that Trapattoni wants to remain loyal to the group of players that performed so competently during qualifying.
However, it could be the unpredictable talent of McClean that could prove to be the difference between reaching the knock-out stages of Euro 2012 or heading back early.
The Derryman recently pledged his allegiance to the Republic rather than play for Northern Ireland, which Trapattoni acknowledged by telling him he has a big part to play in the future.
That part should turn out to be true. Yet a player with such raw talent which most of the world knows little about would have the potential to light up this summer's finals.
Hopefully Trapattoni will be forced in to a rethink over the next few months, McClean would be a Sunderland player to keep an eye on at Euro 2012.
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