SEAMUS COLEMAN will help the Republic of Ireland enter a brave new world against Germany tonight.
The Everton man will make his first competitive start for Giovanni Trapattoni's side as they take on the Euro 2012 semi-finalists in Dublin.
Coleman, 24, has been selected at right-back after impressing there for Everton in the Premier League, and will form part of a new look team for the Irish who will start a competitive match without either Shay Given or Damien Duff, who have retired, or Richard Dunne and 54-goal striker Robbie Keane for the first time in 13 years.
The skipper joined an injury list which has claimed five members of what is widely considered to be Trapattoni’s strongest team.
But the Italian is ready to respond with a bold 4-3-3 formation which is set-up to make the most of Coleman’s attacking potential.
“We know that (Steven) Kelly is more defensive, and Coleman likes to attack,” said assistant boss Marco Tardelli.
“We know Coleman has done well in the Premier League. Now he is starting to play at the back. We know he is a good player.”
Ireland may be primed to play a more fluid brand of attacking football in their daunting Group C encounter but Trapattoni admitted he would be happy simply not to lose.
“I will be proud if we can win or draw because I have studied particularly what Germany have tried to do, and we must do what we can to contain them.
“They have the quality of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez, Mario Gotze, Lukas Podolski – unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of player.
“But we have our qualities and with our qualities, we can confront Germany.
“I am proud of this team. We have achieved very important results with our quality, with our attitude. That’s what we can be proud of.”
It felt like something of a watershed moment as Trapattoni announced his team, which did not include the names of any of the quartet of senior men who have been the backbone of Ireland’s team for over a decade.
There could be a significant shift too in terms of system, with the manager turning to a 4-3-3 formation.
But Trapattoni isn’t ready yet to completely abandon his tried and trusted formula. “We can change, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. I have to be sure that the system is available and that I can change immediately if I need to,” he added.
“I can’t wait until we concede a goal. After, it is very difficult. I have to put out a team that can change after 30 minutes if necessary.”
The sensible money is on Trapattoni starting with 4-3-3 after he and Tardelli have spent the last few days talking about the possibility of using a third central midfielder to man-mark Ozil.
But asked if he would try to do that, he said: “I think it’s impossible. I was a player and I marked famous players – Pele, Eusebio, Johan Cruyff – but there are players it is impossible to mark. Ozil is a player who is very difficult to mark.”
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