International Preview- September 2013.

Michael Steele

Leaving this preview until after the transfer deadline day has resulted in fewer changes to the running order than some would have hoped. Yet, there is still a strong contingency of Royals who head overseas to represent their nations during this fortnight break. Here we’ll cover those who do head off and check out those who could, but aren’t.

The old Royals’ Jamaican trio of Mcanuff-McCleary-Mariappa will be traveling to join up with the national squad for games against Panama and Costa Rica. But, while Adrian Mariappa is off to pastures new, the triple is maintained through Shaun Cummings’ first international call up since May 2013. The full-back is in line to gain his first cap, with his newfound versatility improving his chances of a game. The Reggae Boyz are 6th and bottom of the 2014 World Cup CONCACAF qualification fourth round table, with Costa Rica surpassing expectations in 2nd, Panama are 5th. The previous games between the sides in the qualifiers ended with a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica and a 1-1home draw with Panama.

Also involved in ultimately futile qualifiers are Hal-Robson Kanu and Chris Gunter, whose Welsh side play Macedonia away before Serbia in Cardiff on the 6th and 10th of September, respectively. Wales were hammered 6-1 in Serbia last September, and are yet to play Cedomir Janevski’s Macedonia, who are bottom of Group A.

Stephen Kelly did make it into the original 23-man squad for Ireland’s qualifiers against Group C rivals Sweden and Austria. However, as with the last week of Reading games, he misses out due to ‘family reasons’ surrounding, as we understand, the birth of his child. The Republic are 4th in the group with 11 points and a worse goal difference than their two opponents, and with a tough away trip to Germany still to come, this fortnight could be make or break in terms of a trip to Brazil in the summer. Kelly has been replaced by Greg Cunningham of Bristol City.

Many will consider it a sign of the state of Latvian football when their captain is Reading defender Kaspars Gorkss, who while vastly experienced, will perhaps have a tough time on the international stage. Having said that, playing away to Lithuania, who have only scored 4 goals in their 6 qualifiers, will provide a good chance of success. Following that, 2nd in Group G Greece travel to Riga, who themselves have only scored 7 goals for their 13 points.

Despite Niall Keown having to withdraw from the English under-19 squad to face Estonia, Reading are represented by Jake Cooper. The defender may be joined by winger Tarique Fosu, who is on standby for the Young Three Lions.
Reading will send youths Sean Long and Liam Kelly across the Irish Sea to face Slovenia in a double header of friendlies, with the Irish youngsters staking a place for the U19 European Championship qualifier against Sweden in October.
Further afield, in the U19 Icelandic squad you will find midfielder Samuel Fridjonsson, who signed for Reading in June, and will be part of the squad to take on Scotland.

Missing Out:
Danny Williams
has not been picked for the USA national squad, who have chosen Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman as defensive midfield cover for regular pairing Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones.
Reading fans may find it baffling that Darren O’Dea gets called up to the Ireland squad, let alone ahead of Alex Pearce, who was last called up in February.
First team football, and perhaps form, is evading Adam Federici. But the latter may be the real issue, as bench-warmers Mark Schwarzer of Chelsea and Mitchell Langerak of Borussia Dortmund are in the squad for Australia's friendly against Brazil, alongside Club Brugge youngster Mathew Ryan.
Another keeper staying in Reading is Alex McCarthy, who misses out on the England squad despite Ben Foster’s injury; Celtic’s Fraser Forster deputises.

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