Trap happy with Westwood

Ireland boss puts his trust in Given's replacement

Giovanni Trapattoni: Ireland boss happy with Keiren Westwood's display against Serbia

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Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni believes Keiren Westwood will prove to be a safe pair of hands after Shay Given's retirement.

Given stunned all within the Republic camp on Monday when he announced he was quitting international football after winning a record 125 caps over a 16-year period.

The onus has now fallen on Sunderland goalkeeper Westwood to form Ireland's last line of defence, and he did not disappoint in winning his 11th cap.

Westwood could not have asked any more with such responsibility on his shoulders than a clean sheet, and he achieved that from a goalless draw with Serbia at Belgrade's Red Star Stadium.

Most notably there were two important saves either side of the half-time interval, the first from Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov.

From 25 yards Kolarov's shot took a slight deflection, but the 27-year-old Westwood managed to adjust himself well as he made a smart save low to his right.

Trust

His best was yet to come, however, as in the 71st minute he was at full stretch in turning away to his left a low 20-yard free-kick from Zdravko Kuzmanovic.

It guaranteed Ireland a deserved draw on which Trapattoni said: "This was a particular moment for him after the news about Shay.

"I was sure he could be a substitute for Shay and he showed us in this game we can trust him."

The starting line-up was very different to the one that took to the field in the final group game against Italy in Euro 2012.

The only survivors from a 2-0 defeat were John O'Shea, serving as captain for the first time, Aiden McGeady and Glenn Whelan.

Trapattoni also fielded a very different formation, straying from his often rigidly deployed 4-4-2 over the years by switching to a 4-1-4-1, although the veteran Italian suggested it was 4-3-3.

Different

Regardless, the veteran Italian was happy enough with the display as he said: "This was a good result for us because we have young players, and also players not in condition.

"It was a good result against a good Serbia team that knows each other well and are used to playing well together.

"This friendly was important for us to test the young options, but we don't forget the older players at this moment."

As to the variance in formation, despite its apparent success, Trapattoni has offered no guarantees it will be used again for the opening World Cup qualifier with Kazakhstan on 7th September.

"It was important we tried a different tactical approach," added Trapattoni.

"I will have to digest what I saw tonight and then I will think what to do for Kazakhstan next month."