Ireland out of squad again

Ireland out, Bruce in

Ireland: Out again

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Stephen Ireland has withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad to face Germany and Cyprus in Euro 2008 qualifying.

The Manchester City midfielder controversially pulled out of Steve Staunton's squad for last month's qualifier against Czech Republic.

Ireland claimed his grandmother's death had forced his withdrawal, although it was later revealed his partner had suffered a miscarriage.

The 21-year-old has taken the decision to skip Saturday's game against Germany as well as the Cyprus clash four days later.

"I have thought long and hard about whether I would do my country and myself justice if I joined up with the squad," Ireland told City's official website.

"Unfortunately, I don't believe I would on this occasion.

"The support I have received from Mr Staunton and the FAI has been excellent and everybody at Manchester City has also been superb.

"However, I do not believe I can make a positive contribution to our efforts to qualify."

Disappointing

City manager Sven Goran Eriksson added: "This is disappointing for everybody.

"Steve Staunton and I have been working together to help Stephen through a period which he is clearly finding very difficult.

"We together have left no stone unturned in our efforts to convince him he has so much to offer his country and that international football will greatly benefit his long term career.

"I hope that Stephen will soon feel stable enough to resume his international career."

Bruce call

Meanwhile, Ipswich defender Alex Bruce has been called into the Republic of Ireland squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Bruce, whose one senior cap came against Ecuador in the summer, had been put on standby by Republic boss Staunton.

Stephen Carr has already withdrawn through injury while John O'Shea picked up a dead leg playing for Manchester United.

Staunton has seen fit to draft Bruce into his squad for forthcoming games against Germany and Cyprus.