Doyle not taking starting spot for granted

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

First published in International

Kevin Doyle will not believe he is in the starting line-up for the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 opener against Croatia until manager Giovanni Trapattoni names his team.

Trapattoni revealed at the weekend that the side he fielded in Hungary on Monday will almost certainly be the one which starts in Poznan on Sunday evening.

Doyle, who is rumoured to be interesting Saints, got the nod to partner skipper Robbie Keane in attack at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium, as he has done so often in the recent past, but he is taking nothing for granted.

Told Trapattoni has named him in the side, the 28-year-old said: ''Did he? I don't know, I will wait until he names it the day before, but hopefully so.

''I feel good, I feel sharp, as all of us do, and I just can't wait for it to get started.

''I still want to train well this week - I won't be doing anything different just because he said I may or may not play.''

The Wolves frontman's caution may be well-founded with an unhappy Trapattoni admitting in the wake of the 0-0 draw with Hungary that he may have to have a re-think about his tactical approach against teams fielding only one striker.

He has tried to play Keane in the hole in the recent past but the experiment was not a complete success, and the Italian knows a solution must be found and found quickly.

Doyle and his team-mates boarded the plane for Poland shortly after the final whistle last night and spent their first day at their Gdynia training base yesterday.

The first members of the squad met up in Malahide on May 17 with the remainder joining them three days later, and they are already into their third week together.

In the circumstances, the opening fixture cannot come quickly enough, and Doyle admits that yearning dates back even further, to the play-off triumph over Estonia which booked Ireland's place at the tournament.

He said: ''It's been a long time since November, talking forward and back about playing Croatia, Italy and Spain, so I just want it to start.''

Croatia boss Slaven Bilic was an interested spectator in Budapest and later revealed his respect for Ireland and what they do.

He is unlikely to have been surprised by what he saw on the night and Doyle has little doubt that he already knows what to expect at the weekend.

He said: ''He will have watched us plenty of times by now, he won't have seen anything different last night than he had seen already.

''We just do what we always do. We don't change too much to suit other teams. We keep a very similar system how we deal with set-pieces, everything.

''Everyone who is playing or comes on fits into that, everyone knows what we have to do.''

If Trapattoni is to be believed, however, that may be about to change.

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