Gary Speed meets first test as International Manager

Gary Speed meets first test as International Manager

International fixtures are no stranger to Gary Speed, who remains Wales’ most capped outfield player with 84 appearances since retiring from international football as captain in 2004, but tonight he’ll be in the dugout to face the Republic of Ireland in his first game in charge as Welsh International Coach.

The fixture marks the opener for the Carling Nations cup and both bosses will be eager to bring some national pride away from the Aviva Stadium in what is sure to be a hotly anticipated match up. However, the fixture has been plagued by withdrawals from both sides of the Irish Sea.

Gary Speed will be without big names in Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsay and Craig Bellamy, as well as David Edwards, Boaz Myhill, Craig Morgan, Danny Gabbidon, Chad Evans and Steve Morrison. While Giovanni Trapattoni has suffered blows from Leon Best, James McCarthy and Liam Lawrence through injury and fitness problems, and Robbie Keane is doubtful after picking up a calf injury against Birmingham this past weekend.

Wales and Gary Speed will be looking to end Wales’ losing ways and bounce back from three straight defeats, while Rep. Ireland have only won two of their last six fixtures leaving bookmakers split in opinion as to the outcome of this match.

The Welsh Starting Line-up was named by Gary Speed yesterday:

Wayne Hennessey (Wolves); Neal Eardley (Blackpool), James Collins (Aston Villa), Danny Collins (Stoke), Sam Ricketts (Bolton); Andrew Crofts (Norwich), David Vaughan (Blackpool), Simon Church (Reading), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Andy King (Leicester); Robert Earnshaw (Nottingham Forest).

Trapattoni has kept his starting eleven more closely guarded but debuts have been announced for Seamus Colemen, Jonathan Walters and youngster Ciaran Clark. Walters is set to play alongside Kevin Doyle who scored Wolves winner against Manchester United on Saturday and online bookmaker Paddy Power is offering odds of 15/8 for Doyle to get his name on the score sheet against the Welsh.

Republic of Ireland from:
Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Manchester City), Keiren Westwood (Coventry).
Defenders: John O'Shea (Manchester United ), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St. Ledger (Preston), Kevin Foley (Wolves), Kevin Kilbane (Huddersfield), Stephen Kelly (Fulham ), Darren O'Dea (Ipswich), Paul McShane (Hull).
Midfielders: Marc Wilson (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Manchester United), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Paul Green (Derby), Liam Lawrence (Portsmouth), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscrow), Keith Treacy (Preston), Damien Duff (Fulham), Keith Fahey (Birmingham).
Forwards: Robbie Keane (Tottenham), Jonathan Walters (Stoke), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long (Reading), Andy Keogh (Wolves), Leon Best (Newcastle), Anthony Stokes (Celtic).


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