Arter stakes his claim for a starting place against Austria
Ireland midfielder: ‘There is no bigger game for me at the moment than this one tonight’
The Republic of Ireland’s Harry Arter takes on Uruguay’s Jonathan Urretaviscaya at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Harry Arter says that he will give it a day or two before he looks back on his performance against Uruguay and decides whether or not it was his best in an Ireland shirt, but the Bournemouth midfielder admits that the game probably meant more to him than most as he tries to tie down a place in Martin O’Neill’s team.
“Tonight will be as important to me personally as next week,” said the 27-year-old, who picked up the official Man of the Match award for a display that did much to keep Ireland on course for victory against a Uruguay side that missed Luis Suarez and lost Edinson Cavani to injury not long after the start.
“For someone who hasn’t played a lot of games and doesn’t have a shirt guaranteed in the team, there is no bigger game for me at the moment than this one tonight. I was pleased to get through it, for the team to get a positive result and hopefully I’ll get another chance on Sunday.
“I’m really looking forward to the Austria game,” he continued. “Performances and results so far in the qualifying campaign have been really good and tonight was another good indication that we are going in the right direction.
“You always try to improve and hopefully when I do look back over the game I’ll be impressed. I try and learn off Glenn, he has played a lot at this level and for a lot longer than me so he has great experience international-wise and Premier League-wise; I really enjoy playing alongside him. I feel we really complement each other very well.”
Whelan, to be fair, looked as though he did well out of the partnership too, with the Dubliner having a good half before Martin O’Neill replaced him with Wes Hoolahan and dropped Jeff Hendrick into the holding role alongside Arter.
Before he went, the Stoke City midfielder played a big part in Ireland’s opening goal although Jon Walters admitted that there had been a little bit of a misunderstanding between the pair after he had failed to control the initial pass.
“It got caught under my feet,” said the striker who captained the side on the night. “I thought Glenn was going to take it and he didn’t. They backed off, though, and so it was just about hitting the target. I’m delighted to have done that and about winning.”
That and James McClean’s second half effort were contenders for the game’s best goal but a little later, Walters produced what was clearly the miss of the night when Robbie Brady turned a long Cyrus Christie ball into his path. The striker looked certain to get his second but made contact with his shin and somehow hit the crossbar from a couple of yards out.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll beat myself up about that more than anyone else. I’m just delighted that I got the one before. I think when I was starting and lucky enough to be playing up front for Stoke I got four in nine or 10 games (it was nine) so I’m happy enough that when I play I’ll score the goals. I’m looking forward to next week now although whether I play or not is something that the manager decides.”