Noel King insists Fifa ranking is Ireland’s top priority

‘The spirit and skills of the players - their never say die attitude. Everybody is aware of that trait in our squad. That’s the starting point’

Republic of Ireland interim manager  Noel King. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Republic of Ireland interim manager Noel King. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Interim Republic of Ireland manager Noel King says the squad’s “never say die attitude” will be crucial in the final two World Cup qualifiers next month.

The Dubliner this evening spoke of his pride at being entrusted with the job, if only temporarily, and insisted the Fifa ranking points at stake against Germany and Kazakhstan in October “are key for us”.

King will be in attendance when Fulham take on Everton in the Capital One Cup this evening. It will be the first of a number of games he takes in between now and Monday, when he will announce his squad.

“There are plenty of games to get to between now and then in terms of me finalising the squad and I’ll look at as many players as I can before picking the provisional squad,” said King. “I’m sure there’ll be a few injuries and players possibly not available for a variety of reasons, which is always the case in international football at all levels.

“What is important is that we recognise that the Fifa rankings are key for us. I believe in Ireland. The spirit and skills of the players - their never say die attitude. Everybody is aware of that trait in our squad. That’s the starting point.”

King will be in charge of the squad until the FAI decide on a successor to Giovanni Trapattoni, whose contract was terminated earlier this month after defeat to Austria in Vienna left Ireland without little or no hope of making it to Brazil next year.

He is stepping up from his role as under-21 coach, having previously worked in the senior set-up under Jack Charlton.

“I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work with the senior squad at tournaments such as the 1990 World Cup under Jack Charlton and have been involved in international football for many years at various age-levels,” he said. “I know how the set up works and what goes on, although there are obviously differences between the various levels.

“Obviously I was very proud when I was asked to take this role. I’m honoured and even though this is just a caretaker position it’s marvellous for me and for my family. I’m delighted to be given this opportunity and delighted that the FAI had the confidence in me to give me this responsibility.”

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