Trap backs McCarthy to shine

Republic boss refusing to take Kazakhstan lightly

James McCarthy: Backed to make an impact for Republic of Ireland

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Giovanni Trapattoni backed James McCarthy to shine for the Republic of Ireland as he prepares to make his first competitive start.

Wigan midfielder McCarthy will make his first start in a competitive game in Friday's opening World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in Astana.

McCarthy endured a difficult summer after being forced to pull out of the reckoning for Euro 2012 after it emerged his father was suffering from cancer.

The midfielder has declared himself available for his country now, however, and his coach is backing the player to develop in to a regular in the side after he impressed during last month's 0-0 draw in Serbia.

"I made four or five changes for the Serbia game and when you do that it is usually hard to achieve a result, but he showed good personality," Trapattoni said.

"I've pushed him to shout louder but he already has the ability to see the ball one second before the opponent and that's important.

"Now we must give him the possibility to grow. It's a big test for him."


Trapattoni rang the changes for last month's draw in Belgrade, with McCarthy, James McClean and Kieren Westwood all being given a chance to impress after the country endured a dismal Euro 2012 campaign earlier in the summer.

Although he will be without the newly-retired Damien Duff and Shay Given, the Italian is convinced he can once again upset the odds and reach the finals of another major competition.

The Republic have been placed in the same group as Germany, Sweden and Austria, but the 73-year-old is convinced that the players who have replaced the retired stars are up to the challenge.

"After the game against Serbia we saw a good team spirit and enthusiasm for this new campaign," Trapattoni added.

"In the past few days I saw a good approach from the players and lots of enthusiasm."

No complacency

Kazakhstan's lowly ranking of 142nd in the world means the Republic are big favourites to succeed in Astana, but as ever Trapattoni has done his research on the opposition and has warned his side they must not turn up thinking they already have three points in the bag.

"We are all aware that it is very important to start our qualification campaign well," Trapattoni said.

"We have to be mentally strong and have a positive attitude.

"I've watched Kazakhstan many games and they are a technical team.

"They have a good spirit and a great attitude."