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First Team News

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Irish come calling again for Stevie

Stephen Ireland 0809

Stephen Ireland 0809

Giovanni Trapattoni is trying to tempt City midfielder Stephen Ireland out of international exile in his bid to steer the Republic of Ireland to the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer.

The Republic manager revealed after his team's 1-1 draw with Bulgaria in Sofia that he has been in contact again with Ireland, named the Blues' Player of the Year by supporters after his outstanding season.

Trapattoni said: "We have to know if he wishes to come back or not. I saw two or three City games and I like him, and I will try all possible ways to get him to come back. I want to know what he is thinking and Mark Hughes is not sure. He said it is up to him, but we do not know."

Ireland, 22, has made six appearances for the senior side and scored four goals after being called up by Steve Staunton, but has not played for the Republic since September 2007.

His City skipper Richard Dunne was inspirational in earning the point against qualification rivals Bulgaria that set up a crunch match in October with world champions Italy, who head Group Eight by just a point.

Ireland, who has just signed a new five-year deal at the City of Manchester Stadium, is spending his summer repeating the rigorous personal training programme that underpinned his improved performances last winter.

 

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