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Darron Gibson snubs Ireland call-up but Stephen Kelly returns

Updated: Friday, 08 Mar 2013 17:00 | Comments

Darron Gibson has turned down the chance to rejoin the Ireland squad Stephen Kelly is back in the Ireland squad
Darron Gibson has turned down the chance to rejoin the Ireland squad Stephen Kelly is back in the Ireland squad

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Midfielder Darron Gibson has rejected the chance to join Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland to face Sweden and Austria in this month’s crucial 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Trapattoni named an extended 29-man squad for the qualifiers, which will be shortened to 23 players next week.

Gibson has not played for Ireland since withdrawing from the squad for Ireland's first 2014 World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan last September.

The Everton midfielder, who has been playing regularly for his club side, is understood to have declined an invitation to link-up with the Ireland squad this time around and there are now major questions surrounding his international career. 

There had also been doubts over Kelly’s future within the Irish set-up after he lashed out at Trapattoni for questioning his commitment to the team.

The Ireland manager claimed that Kelly had issued him with an ultimatum, saying: “You know what happened in the situation with Kelly? ‘I play or I go home’."

Kelly fervently denied this and made no effort to hide his unhappiness at the Irish manager’s claims but it now appears that fences have been mended and Kelly is back in the fold.

Andrews also misses out as he continues to recover from an injury and is working on a return to full fitness.

As expected Richard Dunne misses out through injury but fellow defenders Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson have both been included.

Aston Villa defender Dunne has not played all season due to a groin injury, while Stoke defender Wilson has been recalled after recovering from a broken leg and Everton's Coleman is also included after shrugging off a thigh problem which ruled him out of last month's 2-0 friendly win over Poland.

Speaking today in Dublin, the Republic of Ireland manager said, ‘Last month’s friendly game against Poland was a great opportunity to work with younger players, and I saw a lot of potential from them.

"We played very well during the game, and I intend on building from that performance this month. These two games against Sweden and Austria are very important, and we are focused on the task in hand.’

He continued: "I am confident that these players can work together to produce the results we need. Sweden and Austria are two very strong teams, who have done very well in Group C to date. However, I believe that our players have the mentality and attitude necessary to qualify. I am looking forward to assembling the squad on March 17."

Extended Republic of Ireland squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria on March 22 and 26: Westwood, Forde, Randolph, O’Shea, St Ledger, Clark, Wilson, Coleman, Kelly, O’Dea, O’Brien, McShane, Pearce, Ward, Whelan, McCarthy, Green, Hendrick, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Brady, Keane, Long, Doyle, Sammon, Walters, Cox, Hoolahan.

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