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Meyler selected for international debut
DAVID Meyler will make his international debut this evening as the Republic of Ireland take on Oman, but as expected, fellow Sunderland midfielder James McClean will remain on the fringe of Giovanni Trapattoni's set up in the wake of his expletive-filled Twitter rant.
Meyler will play in central midfield as Trapattoni names an experimental line-up for a friendly at Craven Cottage.
The 23-year-old has won seven caps for Ireland's Under-21s, but was forced to withdraw from the senior squad for games against Algeria and Paraguay in 2010 after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.
That was his last senior call-up prior to last week's selection for Friday's win in Kazakhstan and tonight game with Oman.
The former Cork City midfielder did not feature in Astana, but will start this evening despite not having made a single start for Sunderland this season.
There is no place in the side for Keiren Westwood, with Trapattoni taking the opportunity to have a rare look at David Forde, and McClean will also be on the bench after his outburst in Kazakshtan.
The 24-year-old was an unused substitute as Ireland came from behind to claim a 2-1 win, and vented his frustration on his mobile phone from the team coach.
McClean implied that he should have been chosen ahead of some of his colleagues, hardly an attitude that will have endeared him to his team-mates, who dug deep to secure a valuable victory.
However, with the winger set to return to the substitutes' bench later today, full-back Stephen Ward insists there are no ill feelings.
"Of course (everyone accepted his apology)," said Ward. "We don't tend to dwell on these things.
"He was frustrated not to play and 20 minutes after the game he calmed down and was just happy we got the result. On the plane home he sort of regretted it. He apologised to the lads and we have moved on from it."
Trapattoni has told McClean his actions would almost certainly have led to a lengthy international exile had he been playing for a different country.
However, with his squad going through a period of transition, Trapattoni admits he cannot afford to cast one of his most talented prospects into the wilderness.
"He was mortified (when he was pulled up in front of the squad)," said the Italian. "If he could have, he would have eaten his words. He was very apologetic.
"Another manager, English or German, would have said take your bag and go home, but I might need him."