McCARTHY STILL HAS IRISH FUTURE
Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has promised James McCarthy he has a future at senior international level despite missing out on the Euro 2012 finals.
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The 21-year-old Wigan midfielder revealed on Monday that he had asked not to be selected for this summer's tournament because his father is undergoing cancer treatment.
Trapattoni expressed his sympathy for the player, but told him he would be involved in future campaigns.
Trapattoni said: "Last week, he called me and told me what had happened with his family, and I told him, 'I am sorry, I am very, very sorry'.
"But he has decided to remain at home because he has a very heavy duty for his parents.
"I told him immediately that we would continue to follow him and that he will be in our plans for the future. He said, 'Thanks for this'."
McCarthy confirmed his decision in a statement which said: "I have made the very difficult decision to withdraw my name from selection from the Euro 2012 squad following the diagnosis of my father with cancer and an ongoing requirement for treatment.
"I have discussed this with the manager. He was very understanding and I thank him sincerely for that.
"I take this opportunity to re-affirm my complete commitment to playing for the Republic of Ireland.
"It is a huge honour and source of great pride for me and my family.
"Despite not being present, I would like to wish the manager and my team-mates every success at the tournament and hope that Irish fans can understand the reason for my decision at this difficult time."
While one of his talented youngsters will remain at home, Trapattoni has handed another the chance to shine in Poland and Ukraine by selecting Sunderland winger James McClean, who has just a single senior cap as a substitute to his name to date.
Most of Trapattoni's Barclays Premier League-based players will not meet up until May 20, but he has asked McClean to arrive with the npower Championship contingent three days earlier so he can become better acquainted with the management team and what they require from him.
The Republic face a tough test in the finals with reigning World and European champions Spain as well as Italy and Croatia standing between them and a place in the second phase.
However, Trapattoni remains confident that his team can make an impression.
He said: "We don't have Messi or other quality creative players like Ronaldo or Maradona in the past, but we have a strong team with organisation and with balance.
"Over three months or six months, stronger teams will win, but 90 minutes is 90 minutes. That's football.
"I think my colleagues respect us. They have seen us and I have friends in Italy and Croatia, and the managers say Ireland is a strong team."
Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2012: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O'Dea (Leeds), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).
Stand-by: Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Paul McShane (Crystal Palace), Paul Green (Unattached), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Andy Keogh (Millwall).