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Pilkington ‘ready to answer Irish call’

PUBLISHED: 22:46 14 December 2012

Norwich City winger Anthony Pilkington is ready to play for the Republic of Ireland, national team boss Giovanni Trapattoni has claimed.

Trapattoni said yesterday he was confident the Canaries’ in-form forward had decided to make himself available for Ireland and that the necessary paperwork was being completed.

Pilkington won one under-21 cap for the Republic back in 2008, when he featured in a 3-0 win in Lithuania, and if his call-up goes through, he could be involved when the Irish play Poland in a friendly in Dublin on February 6. The next competitive games are World Cup qualifiers away to Sweden and at home to Austria in March.

Trapattoni was at Carrow Road for City’s victory over Arsenal in October, watching Wes Hoolahan – who then played in the 1-0 friendly defeat by Greece – and Pilkington.

“I have seen him play in two or three matches and he is a very interesting player,” said Trapattoni. “I can say with certainty that he is very interested to play for us. He is honoured with the interest and the paperwork is being processed at the moment. Who knows, we might be able to see him in early February.

“He is a very particular type of player. He is technically excellent and he is very physical. He is really at ease playing both off his left and right foot. He is young and very aggressive with the ball. I don’t know if during my time here we have actually had that type of player, who is at ease both on the left and right wing, and who can come in and create difficulties for defences.

“I think he is a great threat in front of goal. There are a lot of different ways he can attack in the air. He has a great strike of the ball and he is not afraid to take a shot. He is excellent at set-pieces, his physical and technical attributes are there for everyone to see. He is a bit different from Duff, Lawrence, Hunt and even McClean. He is able to offer a lot in different areas of the pitch.”

Pilkington qualifies for Ireland through his paternal grandmother and said last month he would welcome an invite to the squad.

But he added at the time: “Unless someone gives me a call-up and phones me up and says ‘Do you want to come and play?’ there’s no point really making a decision.”

Trapattoni is not concerned about any possible competition from England for the Blackburn-born player.

He said: “No I haven’t spoken to Roy Hodgson about him. I am aware of possible interest, but that has not been confirmed by anybody. England have a lot of players at their disposal so I am not sure how true that is or not.

“If it does come to speaking to Hodgson, that is no problem. He is a good friend of mine and I am sure he would understand my rationale about speaking about Pilkington.”

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