O'Shea ready to lead by example
REP OF IRELAND v GERMANY:A lot is riding on his shoulders but the Sunderland defender is relishing the challenge, writes EMMET MALONE
HAVING WAITED a while for his opportunity to come around, Séamus Coleman will make his competitive international debut against Germany tonight. Alongside him in defence, though, John O’Shea will be under just as much pressure to raise his game to match the occasion.
O’Shea has been an important member of the Republic of Ireland team for more than a decade but given his undoubted ability he still has the capacity to frustrate and the former Manchester United star sometimes gives the impression that he could have contributed more effectively to the overall cause.
As he captains his country in the absence of Robbie Keane again tonight, he insists he will be at the heart of things, producing his best and helping to ensure others produce theirs. Everyone, he insists however, has got to play their part if the Germans are to be tested, never mind beaten.
“Basically it is about organising the whole team,” he says when asked about the captaincy, “and making sure everyone knows their roles beforehand.
“But it is not just about one individual for a game like this; it is about the whole team.
“That will be the main thing, everyone doing their job and leading by example. It will be about organising from the back and focusing; making sure we can keep a clean sheet.
“If we can do that, we’ll have gone a long way towards achieving a massive result.”
His experience of coming up against players of this world-class calibre could be critical to the home side’s hopes of keeping that clean sheet although he maintains Coleman’s lack of it should not be a cause for concern.
“All the lads have impressed in training, in friendlies and at club level too,” he says.
“Look at Séamus Coleman. He was playing on the right side of midfield and then he has gone back to full back and he has done fantastically.
“There is a bit more pressure to it (play competitively at this level) but he has shown in his attitude and ability that he will be able to overcome that.
“He has done brilliantly at Everton who have had a great start to the season; and shown in training, as well as in the friendly against Oman, that he is ready for this test.”
Whether the team is collectively we will have a better idea by the end of the night but O’Shea is upbeat about the challenge of taking on a side that Ireland have drawn with in two of their three most recent competitive meetings. Most fans might take a point at this stage but he is not so sure.
“Going into a home game against anybody we are confident we can win but they are the second-ranked team in the world and we’ll see how the game goes.
“Sometimes when you get a draw you are delighted, like when you score the equaliser in the last minute. On the other hand, if you concede in the last minute, then you are not very happy. We will wait and see. Obviously we want to win but we know how tough that will be.”