Shay Given and Stephen Ireland still absent from Republic squad

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has not included Shay Given or Stephen Ireland in his first squad for the friendly against Serbia on 5 March.

Given, 37, retired from Irish duty after Euro 2012 but has been linked with making an international return.

The Aston Villa keeper's loan spell at Middlesbrough will end this weekend.

Ireland has not played for his country since he lied about the death of both of his grandmothers after pulling out of an Irish squad in 2007.

Speaking at the announcement of his Republic squad on Thursday, O'Neill revealed that he had held telephone discussions with both Given and Stoke midfielder Ireland.

I enjoyed working with the players in November for my first taste of international football and am looking forward to assembling the squad once again in March

Martin O'Neill

O'Neill indicated that he plans to meet Ireland, 27, in person in the coming weeks and that Given's uncertainly over his immediate club future had prevented any prospect of him being included in the squad for the Serbia friendly.

Captain Robbie Keane has not been named in the 29-man squad as he is remaining with LA Galaxy for the start of the MLS season on 8 March.

With Sunderland's Keiren Westwood still not back to full fitness following recent shoulder surgery, the squad's goalkeepers are David Forde, Birmingham keeper Darren Randolph and uncapped Newcastle player Rob Elliot.

The squad also includes Ipswich Town striker Daryl Murphy plus Hull midfielder David Meyler, Derby defender Richard Keogh and Nottingham Forest's Simon Cox.

Manager O'Neill said the Dublin friendly would provide "great preparations" for the European Championship qualifiers which start in September.

"I enjoyed working with the players in November for my first taste of international football and am looking forward to assembling the squad once again in March," added O'Neill.

The Serbia match is O'Neill's third in charge, after beating Latvia 3-0 and holding Poland 0-0, but the squad for those games was picked by Noel King.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: David Forde (Millwall), Darren Randolph (Birmingham), Rob Elliot (Newcastle)

Defenders: Richard Keogh (Derby), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Seamus Coleman (Everton), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Reading), Stephen Kelly (Reading), Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace), Richard Dunne (QPR), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Stephen Ward (Brighton)

Midfielders: James McCarthy (Everton), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Paul Green (Ipswich), Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest), Aiden McGeady (Everton), Anthony Pilkington (Norwich), James McClean (Wigan), Stephen Quinn (Hull), David Meyler (Hull), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich)

Strikers: Shane Long (Hull), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich), Jon Walters (Stoke), Kevin Doyle (QPR), Anthony Stokes (Celtic), Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest)