LEE CLARK reckons Kevin Kilbane is more than capable of doing a job for the Republic of Ireland in Saturday’s big Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia in Dublin.
The on-loan Hull star will miss his first game since moving from the KC Stadium when Town tackle Notts County in front of the Sky cameras at the Galpharm on Sunday.
The boss is disappointed to be without the influential 34-year-old, who hopes to extend his country’s record caps tally of 108 in the games against Macedonia and Uruguay, also at the Aviva Stadium, next Tuesday.
But he’d be delighted to see him pull on the green shirt once again, saying: “Kevin is a class act, both on and off the pitch, and we knew when he came here that he wanted to keep playing for the Republic if possible.
“The number of caps he has won speaks for itself, because you don’t get a total like he has by luck.
“Kevin’s a very good footballer who has a first-class attitude and conducts himself professionally both on and off the field.
“He’s excelled in a number of different positions for us and has quickly become a key member of the squad here.
“The other lads both like him and look up to him, but he’s a humble guy. You’ll never here him boast about anything.
“He’s a great role model to the younger players and a pleasure to have about the place.
Kilbane, who has made 21 Town appearances, won his first Republic cap in 1997, shortly after leaving hometown club Preston for West Brom. He has also played for Sunderland, Everton and Wigan.
Republic boss Giovanni Trapattoni is assessing his injured players.
Defender Richard Dunne has a shoulder problem and midfielder Darron Gibson a toe injury.
Winger Damien Duff has Achilles trouble and striker Leon Best and full-back or midfielder Seamus Coleman both have ankle problems.
l Sepp Blatter will make way for a successor as FIFA president in four years’ time if he is re-elected in June.
Blatter is seeking a fourth term but is being challenged by Asian confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam.
The 75-year-old told UEFA’s Congress in Paris today that if he wins he will definitely stand down in 2015.
Blatter said: “Together we have the task of bringing together the adventure we have started. We want to ensure a better future for our youth.”
Blatter’s announcement appears to be a direct appeal to the 53 European countries to support him and then he will make way for UEFA president Michel Platini in 2015.
Bin Hammam had revealed he would be interested in cutting a deal with Platini to oust Blatter – but the Qatari would certainly want eight years in office.
Blatter told the Congress FIFA would now have “zero tolerance” for corruption after two executive committee members were banned last year after asking for money in return for votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights.
He said: “We can see cases of corruption that really hurt the whole football family.”