Sunderland's James McClean fails to make Republic of Ireland squad

Sunderland's rising star James McClean has surprisingly been left out of the Republic of Ireland squad to face the Czech Republic later this month.

The winger was expected to get his first senior call-up for the friendly.

Republic boss Giovanni Trapattoni indicated last month that he intended to stick with the players who had got the team to the Euro 2012.

But it was believed that McClean's headline-grabbing performances had prompted a rethink by Trapattoni.

McClean was available for selection after receiving Fifa clearance following his decision to switch from Northern Ireland to the Republic.

Trapattoni revealed that he had spoken to McClean on Thursday and assured him that he would be called into the squad "in the future".

"I told him, '100 per cent you will be with us (in the future)'," said Trapattoni.

"But I want to consolidate the balance, the mentality of the squad in this game against the Czech Republic so we will use the players that qualified us for Euro 2012."

The 22-year-old's move from Derry City to the Wearside outfit, a £350,000 transfer from League of Ireland obscurity, went relatively unnoticed during a period of heavy recruitment at the Stadium of Light last summer, and for the first four months of the season he did not make a first team appearance.

That all changed when O'Neill succeeded Steve Bruce in early December, with the new manager handing McClean his senior debut by bringing him off the bench in his first game in charge.

Since then, McClean has emerged as a key figure for Sunderland and his winner in the 1-0 league victory at Stoke last weekend was his third goal in 11 games so far.

"I'm not so sure you could ignore the talents, he's done fantastically," O'Neill said earlier this week.

"I'm quite sure he at least is giving food for thought to the Ireland camp."

Anthony Pilkingon (Norwich), Andy Keogh (Millwall), Ciaran Clark, Stephen Ireland (both Aston Villa) and Paul McShane (Crystal Palace) have also missed out on a call-up for the game.

Trapattoni has named a 24-man squad for the Aviva Stadium match on 29 February.

"This game is the beginning of our Euro 2012 preparations. As we face this fixture, it is important for our players to remember the attitude and performance that brought us qualification," said Trapattoni.

"The Czech Republic are a strong team, and their system is similar to Croatia and Spain.

"This game is vital in helping us choose our 23 player squad for May. We will continue to monitor our players afterwards, and keep a close eye on their fitness in the coming months."

Republic of Ireland squad: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O'Dea (Leeds), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Wigan), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves); Robbie Keane (Aston Villa), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).