Celtic's Anthony Stokes not hopeful of Euro spot with Ireland

Anthony Stokes celebrates
Stokes has been in fine scoring form for Celtic in recent weeks

Anthony Stokes admits he faces un uphill battle to force himself back into the Republic of Ireland squad despite being Celtic's in-form striker.

The 23-year-old was overlooked by coach Giovanni Trappatoni as the Irish qualified for the European Championship finals by beating Estonia.

"A season or two ago, I wasn't playing and Trappatoni still picked me," recalled Stokes.

"But the lads in the squad are doing well, so I can't have any complaints."

Robbie Keane continues to lead the Republic line despite heading out of the English top flight to Los Angeles Galaxy, while Stoke City's Jonathan Walters proved an able deputy for suspended Wolves striker Kevin Doyle in the 4-0 win in Estonia.

Stokes, who has scored four goals in his last four appearances for his Scottish Premier League club, could only look on as the Irish completed their 5-1 aggregate play-off victory with a home draw in Dublin.

The former Hibernian player upset Trappatoni in May when he withdrew from the squad for the Carling Nations Cup matches against Northern Ireland and Scotland and the friendly against Italy.

Stokes later denied saying it was because he was too tired but realises he will now struggle to get back into the squad for next summer.

"I would love to be, but that's out of my hands," said the former Arsenal, Falkirk, Sunderland and Hibernian striker.

"The ball is in his court and I can't do much more than I'm doing at the minute.

"I just have to focus on my club form and do as well as I possibly can.

"I just want to play as well as I can and give myself the best chance.

"If I am scoring goals and playing week-in, week-out, there is not a lot else I can do."

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