Take Spain for example, a European team travelling all the way to the Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil for a 2-0 friendly win. I’m sure many Reading fans would be disappointed if one of our players went so far, and fortunately our furthest traveller this week, Danny Williams, at least remained on the continent. He remained on the bench for the entirety of the United States’ 4-3 victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina in Sarajevo. Williams was benched due to experienced European-based players Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, of Roma and Schalke respectively, being deployed in centre midfield.
Closer to home, a small-ish Cardiff crowd turned out for Wales and Republic of Ireland’s 0-0 draw. Chris Gunter held down the right-back position for the Welsh, enjoying a clean sheet as he continues to be first choice for his nation with Celtic defender Adam Matthews providing competition for the wing-back. Hal-Robson Kanu was substituted with 15 minutes remaining, having started the game, and more minutes on the pitch will be valuable as he seeks to return to full fitness and form after a pre-season disturbed by injury. Stephen Kelly was on the subs bench for the full 90, with Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni preferring Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson as his full-backs for the friendly.
Kaspars Gorkss captained Latvia as per usual, who took the positives of a 1-1 draw in Estonia before their qualifiers against Lithuania and Greece in September.
Two academy players turned out for their U19 sides; Sean Long’s Irish team lost 1-0 to Norway in the first of a friendly double header. Long played the entire game. Elsewhere Lewis Collins made his International Report debut by featuring in a 1-1 draw with the Scottish under 19s on Tuesday.
Fortunately no injuries have been reported, with all teams involved in crucial qualifiers across the September international break which will see the non-international Royals squad enjoy a Saturday off on September 7th. Unless of course, they play in the Royals’ international friendly against Oman, which may or may not fall under the jurisdiction of this report!