WORKING UNDER MARTIN O’NEILL and Roy Keane has put the pep back in Ireland’s step, John O’Shea said yesterday.
The wounds from Giovanni Trapattoni’s final campaign are still sore — like tonight’s opponents Serbia, Ireland won’t be going to the World Cup this summer — but there is a new energy in the squad.
O’Shea said: “You could tell that it was obviously really flat and then the manager was announced, and the manager’s decision to bring Roy in alongside him, and it got everyone’s imagination and enthusiasm back up.
“The positive start we had against Latvia and then going to a tough opponent like Poland and performing like we did on a difficult pitch that evening was a very pleasing start, but that’s all it was.
“We’re fully aware of the tests that are going to be ahead of us and the challenges that we’re going to face but it’s definitely been uplifting.”
Source: EMPICS Sport
Three days after leading Sunderland out in Wembley for the Capital One Cup Final, O’Shea is likely to captain his country again this evening in the absence of regular skipper Robbie Keane.
His international responsibilities have already taken over from the disappointment of defeat against Manchester City.
“They scored two fantastic goals, don’t get me wrong, but we gave them a good scare. They knew they were in a cup final.
“It was good to have this game coming up so quickly because the sooner the next game comes around after something like that, it gets the appetite going again.”
Source: INPHO/Donall Farmer
That same appetite will be tested when the Euro 2016 campaign begins later this year. The qualifying group draw, pitting Ireland against Germany once again, has focused minds but O’Shea says there will be no fear factor.
“You know how good they are. You want to test yourselves against the best players but you can’t be greedy all the time saying that you want the best draw, you want this, you want that. You get who you get and Germany will be a massive test for us.
“I know [the manager] and we’re not going to be having a team talk beforehand thinking we’re going out and not going to win this game. That’s something that’s going to be very positive to look forward to.”