A CALL-UP TO Ireland’s squad for their first European Championships in 24 years should be enough to lighten the spirits of every ambitious footballer.
For Paul McShane, promoted to Ireland’s squad for Euro 2012, it was hard to hide his delight but the defender spared more than a thought for the man he replaced.
McShane was substituted for Kevin Foley at half-time in their warm-up match against a select side from Tuscany but the Wolves right-back is now surplus to requirements.
Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni has invited Foley to stay on for the championships but the main thought occupying the 27-year-old’s thoughts yesterday was getting in touch with family members to let them know the bad news.
McShane, for his part, tried to take in the enormity of his late inclusion while empathising with Foley.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue, McShane said, “I wouldn’t say (I am) thrilled because I know Kevin and he’s a good friend of mine. I’ve not been jumping around the place celebrating, I’ve just tried to keep an even keel.
I am happy, though, to be in the 23 because I didn’t expect to be in it. I’m happy deep down but, at the same time, I do feel for Kev.
“The minute I got told I thought of Kev straight away because it is disappointing for him. I think he had family and that coming over but football is a cruel sport sometimes.”
One of the ironies of McShane’s call-up as defensive cover for Richard Dunne, Darren O’Dea and Sean St. Ledger, all of whom are carrying knocks, is that he picked up an injury in the weekend win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“I had a bruised foot,” he explained. “I went to kick a ball against Bosnia and it sort of got stuck in the ground. I was worried it was a ligament.” McShane added:
I didn’t want to come to the squad and then get sent home with an injury so I wanted to try and rest it as much as I could.
“I got a scan and it turned out that it was superficial and just a few muscle fibres in the foot so everything is grand.”
A man for all seasons
Trapattoni pointed out on Tuesday evening, after Ireland’d 5-0 win, that the deciding factor in dropping a fit Foley was McShane’s ability to cover full-back and centre-back positions.
“I can play both positions,” McShane reiterated. “I feel comfortable there and can play right back also. Wherever is needed really. If there is an injury or anything I am ready to step in.”
Asked if his family would be making last minute plans to travel to Poland, McShane remarked, “They can stay where they are. It’s too much.”