Seamus Coleman: I can't explain how much I've missed playing for Republic of Ireland

Everton full-back Seamus Coleman is back on Republic of Ireland duty, more than 17 months after his last appearance; watch Serbia vs Republic of Ireland, live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm on Wednesday (kick-off 7:45pm)

Seamus Coleman (PA)
Image: Seamus Coleman has not played for Ireland since he was sent off in a 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifier in Switzerland in October 2019

Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman is desperate to make up for lost time as he targets a first appearance for his country in more than 17 months.

The Everton full-back has not played for Ireland since he was sent off in a 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifier in Switzerland in October 2019 through a combination of injuries and selection decisions, but is desperate to return against Serbia on Wednesday evening as the World Cup qualifying campaign gets under way.

Coleman told a press conference: "I can't explain how much I've missed it. It's been something that's been on my mind. I love playing for my country and I can't even remember when the last one was - it might have been my sending off, which is a very long time.

Live World Cup Qualifier

"Then I came in and I was injured for most of the other selections, unfortunately. I was doing quite well at club level and just picked up a niggle before we met up with something, which has been disappointing.

"To get here, to be with the lads, to be with the staff is an amazing feeling, but then ultimately getting out there and putting on the green shirt is what we always want, and that's what I want tomorrow, so we'll see what happens.

"But I'm delighted to be here and I cannot wait to get started again."

Travers gets nod in goal with Randolph out

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has confirmed that Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers will start in Belgrade.

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With Darren Randolph injured, Kenny was faced with a choice between Travers and Burton's Kieran O'Hara, who have two caps each, and the uncapped Gavin Bazunu, who is on loan a Rochdale from Manchester City.

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher (L) is out injured, with Bournemouth's Mark Travers (R) set to start for Ireland on Wednesday
Image: Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher (L) is out injured, with Bournemouth's Mark Travers (R) set to start for Ireland on Wednesday

Kenny said: "Kieran O'Hara coming through the U21 team has been in the senior squad under Mick McCarthy before me for two years, is familiar with everyone and has made his debut; Mark Travers has been in the international squad, come through the international teams and has played, albeit only one and a half games, with Ireland before.

"Gavin is a younger one who has just now come up from the U21s and he's a very exciting prospect and has a great future ahead of him.

"I do take it on board that the players are inexperienced, I do take that on board, but we have faith in them as goalkeepers. Mark will play and we have every faith in him."

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