Ireland's Irish exile continues
© AFP

Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland's international exile continued on Monday after he was omitted from the Republic of Ireland squad for next month's FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against Georgia.

There had been speculation Ireland, 22, would end his self-imposed absence but the BBC, citing reports, said he'd yet to make contact with the Republic's veteran Italian manager Giovanni Trappatoni.

Ireland withdrew from the Republic squad prior to a UEFA EURO 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic in September 2007 and he has not played for his country since then. At the time, he said a grandparent had died but it was subsequently revealed the real reason for his decision to drop out of the squad was that his girlfriend had suffered a miscarriage.

Also left out of the 25-man squad for the 11 February match at Dublin's Croke Park was Sunderland midfielder Andy Reid, who has yet to play for the Republic since Trappatoni's arrival in May.

Reid blotted his copyboook with the former Juventus manager by breaching a curfew three days before the World Cup qualifier against Montenegro.

But full-backs Steve Finnan (Espanyol) and Steven Kelly (Birmingham) were included after missing the Republic's last two matches through injury.

Trapattoni said: "This will be the first match of a very important year ahead in our challenge to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

"Georgia are strong opposition, but we believe in ourselves as a team and I look forward to our fans' help to give us a home advantage throughout the 90 minutes."

November's 3-2 friendly loss at home to Poland ended the Republic's six-game unbeaten run under Trappatoni.

But in qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the Republic started out by beating Georgia 2-1 in September and followed that up with a goalless draw against Montenegro and a 1-0 home win over Cyprus.

They are currently second in European zone Group eight, three points behind Italy but with a game in hand over the world champions. Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup European zone group eight qualifier against Georgia here at Croke Park on Wednesday, 11 February:

Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Newcastle/ENG), Dean Kiely (West Brom/ENG), Keiren Westwood (Coventry/ENG)

Defenders: Alex Bruce (Ipswich/ENG), Damien Delaney (QPR/ENG), John O'Shea (Manchester United/ENG), Kevin Foley (Wolves/ENG), Paul McShane (Sunderland/ENG), Richard Dunne (Manchester City/ENG), Stephen Kelly (Birmingham/ENG), Steve Finnan (Espanyol/ESP),

Midfielders: Kevin Kilbane (Hull/ENG), Aiden McGeady (Celtic/SCO), Damien Duff (Newcastle/ENG), Darron Gibson (Manchester United/ENG), Glenn Whelan (Stoke/ENG), Keith Andrews (Blackburn/ENG), Liam Miller (QPR/ENG),

Strikers: Stephen Hunt (Reading/ENG), Andy Keogh (Wolves/ENG), Caleb Folan (Hull/ENG), Kevin Doyle (Reading/ENG), Robbie Keane (Liverpool/ENG), Shane Long (Reading/ENG), Noel Hunt (Reading/ENG)