Noel King’s brief reign more than a passing phase
Interim boss delighted team has taken first steps towards modern passing game
“We were all aware of it but the other results went well and Romania have to win two games. The boys are delighted. That was a key match and you would have told me if it had gone wrong just how key it was. I would have had to have put my hand up and say ‘dud’.
“But to be a second seed is incredible. That could be worth a lot of money to the association and it could be worth a lot of other football days for us; it could mean qualification for us as two teams go though, which would be massive.
We were aware of it but it wasn’t to the forefront as I just wanted to get a performance from the players. But, yes, we were all scared.”
His cause may not have been helped by sniping by players left out but King said he sympathised with Shane Long and James McClean despite the former having tweeted “cowboy”, apparently about him, 90 minutes before kick-off and the latter having retweeted it.
“It’s not something anyone would welcome but it’s understandable,” he said. “He (Long) come here, he’s given up his time, he’s left his family, he’s done all of that sort of stuff, he’s done the bits of training but then he’s left out in both games, he didn’t get a kick of the ball. I certainly wouldn’t expect him to be doing a jig.
“I’d expect him to be upset. Anything else would be unprofessional. If he lost his rag and said something, ‘cowboy’, I’ve no difficulty with that.”
It is, of course, difficult to imagine him being so understanding if he was in the position of having to maintain discipline and protect his standing amongst the players on an ongoing basis.
King, though, while he didn’t rule it out, didn’t sound like a man who reckoned it would be his problem next month.
He said he would be ready if called upon again and would keep an eye on the senior players as well as the under-21 ones until the situation was clarified but he expects the next man to be more than capable of handling himself with regard to both the players and the critics.
As for himself, he said: “It’s been terrific, two and half weeks of madness, bedlam, excitement, and football, football, football – but that’s my life, it always has been my life. And the next two and half weeks will be football, football, football too, just not in the public eye.”