Shay Given queries young players' desire as James McCarthy pulls out

Shay Given reacted to the withdrawal of Wigan midfielder James McCarthy from the Republic of Ireland squad by questioning the hunger of young players.

McCarthy, 20, who scored twice in a 4-3 win over Blackburn on Saturday, was withdrawn by relegation-threatened Wigan manager Roberto Martinez ahead of the Carling Nations Cup game against Wales at the Aviva Stadium tonight.

The midfielder only recently returned after a three-month lay-off with an ankle injury and took a couple of hefty knocks against Rovers.

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At a press conference in Dublin yesterday Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni appeared unhappy about the former Hamilton Accies player's absence.

Goalkeeper Given, who is Ireland's most-capped player with 109 appearances, believes attitudes may have changed since he started out in his international career.

"I don't know what his situation is but, as the manager says, he (McCarthy) is very young," he said.

"When I was very young I was very excited to be in the squad but maybe young players' mentalities have changed since I was 20 or 21.

"But we would take him with open arms because he is a quality player.

"We hope he is going to be a big part of the future. I think he will be an important player for us in future and the games coming up.

"Hopefully it is just about growing up - as he gets older and wiser he'll be hungrier.

"But it could be that he is doing rehabilitation work at Wigan this week. A lot goes on that we don't see behind the scenes. Maybe he'll be better for Wigan for next week, as it's only a friendly for ourselves."

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Trappatoni said all the right things when quizzed about McCarthy - who was born in Glasgow but qualifies through the grandparent rule - but there was an underlying sense of disgruntlement.

"He (McCarthy) has an injury," he said.

"He (Martinez) said Wigan are in a bad position in the table and he said maybe he should stay at home. I accept this because Martinez was very clear and I understood him. I wish to have him but I have to respect his opinion.

"I wouldn't like to be in conflict with the club. We can wait. He is young, his time is in the future."

Turning to the game against Wales, Given said: "It will go down as a friendly but it has got another twist to it with the Nations Cup.

"Playing Wales gives it an added edge and with it being in Dublin we'd like to win the tournament.

The game marks Gary Speed's first as Wales manager and Given said: "It's a great move for Wales. He's hungry to do well for them and he's got lots of ideas going forward. It's an exciting future for them."