Shay exit opens Trap door for Westwood
SERBIA v REP OF IRELAND Kick-off 7.45pm
KIEREN WESTWOOD is determined to put his Euro 2012 misery behind him as he looks to nail down his place as the Republic of Ireland’s new No.1 goalkeeper.
Westwood is set to win only his 11th cap in three years after Shay Given announced his international retirement.
Aston Villa keeper Given has decided to call time on his Ireland career after a disappointing Euro 2012 tournament which saw Giovanni Trapattoni’s side bow out without winning a game.
And Sunderland stopper Westwood says he can’t wait to fill the huge void left by Given – starting against Serbia in Belgrade.
Westwood, 27, admitted: “The Euros were tough. We didn’t really give a good account of ourselves if we’re honest.
“Maybe a long season caught up with us.
“We met up quite early, and then by the time the games came around we might have been mentally a bit jaded and physically a bit tired.
“Serbia away will be a tough old game, to be fair, but it’s one we’re looking forward to and hopefully I can get some minutes there as well.”
The game offers Trapattoni the chance to test some new faces on the international stage ahead of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Irish start their bid to reach Brazil away to Kazakhstan on September 7 before hosting Germany on October 12.
Injuries and illness have ruled out Kevin Doyle, Stephen Ward, Marc Wilson, Keith Treacy, Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington.
Skipper Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne and Stephen Hunt have been left out of the 23-man squad.
Ipswich defender Damien Delaney has been called up, while Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy are among those given a fresh opportunity by Trapattoni.
I’M THE ONE: Westwood