Giovanni Trapattoni looking forward to Ireland's Wembley date with England
Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni admits he cannot wait to take on old friend Roy Hodgson at Wembley tonight.
Last Updated: 29/05/13 7:07am
Trapattoni has been eager to face England for many years and he will get his chance in a post-season friendly that sees the teams meet for the first time since their abandoned friendly of 1995, which was ended by crowd trouble.
"I have always wanted to play against England. I am happy to have this opportunity now that the team is led by a good friend of mine, Roy Hodgson," Trapattoni said.
"The match will be a big test - psychologically and physically. The majority of my players play against them in the English leagues and from this they know their strengths and weaknesses.
"This Ireland team is solid and it has balance, but not all our players play in the Premier League, unlike with England.
"In football there are no 100 per cent certainties; we want a good result and to play a good match in this fantastic stadium [here at Wembley]."
Fresh from a hat-trick in Los Angeles last weekend, and a long overnight flight, Ireland captain Robbie Keane said he could not wait to take part in the match, with the last game having taken place when he was only 14.
"It's always good to play against players that you have played against a lot but they will know me as well as I will know them. I'm certainly looking forward to it," Keane said.
"Hopefully it will be a great game for everyone to see and hopefully we can come out on top.
"I was a kid in the stand and I didn't think at this stage we would have a chance to play England.
"This is probably a bit long coming. To be totally honest with you, I think it should have happened a good few years ago, but for whatever reason, it hasn't happened to try to put to bed what happened a long time ago.
"They are very strong. They have so many players they can pick from - we don't have that luxury, to be honest with you. They have probably one of their best players out, Steven Gerrard, who is injured, but they have so many players they can just pick from any team in England.
"They are a very, very strong team, we are well aware of that. They have quality players throughout the squad, players on the bench and players who haven't been called up.
"They are a good side, but it's a good test for us. It's important for us to pit our wits against top 10 teams in world to see where we are."