Euro 2012: Selecting Republic of Ireland's Starting XI from Their Squad of 23

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Euro 2012: Selecting Republic of Ireland's Starting XI from Their Squad of 23
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Who should join captain Robbie Keane (right) in forming Republic of Ireland's starting eleven for their first Euro 2012 game?

Monday saw Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni's squad of 23 for the upcoming European Championships announced. Eight stand-by players have been announced in case of injury to one of the initial group.

It was also noted that Wigan Athletic midfielder James McCarthy would not be included as he had asked to be withdrawn following his father's cancer diagnosis.

The squad, in positional order:

Goalkeepers:  Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall).

Defenders: John O'Shea (Sunderland), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Kevin Foley (Wolves), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Darren O'Dea (Celtic).

Midfielders: Keith Andrews (West Brom), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (S Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), James McClean (Sunderland).

Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long (West Brom), Simon Cox (West Brom), Jonathan Walters (Stoke).

Stand-by: Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Paul McShane (Crystal Palace), Paul Green (Unattached), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Andy Keogh (Millwall).

With just over a month to go now until Euro 2012 and the names now known of those who will be representing Ireland in their first major tournament since the 2002 World Cup, focus will begin to turn to just who will make up the starting 11 for the first Group C game against Croatia.

Who will Trapattoni pair up front with Robbie Keane? Will James McClean force his way into the team after a name-making season with Sunderland? And what is the best defensive lineup to keep the Irish as solid as possible at the back?

Getting into the mind of Trapattoni is not easy. But nonetheless, here is the lineup that he may look to start the tournament with, mixing the mainstays of the qualification campaign with one or two possible surprises as the Republic of Ireland return to the big time.

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