Seamus Coleman and John O’Shea fit for Serbia clash
Ireland boss Martin O’Neill confirms defenders available for opening qualifier
Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has confirmed both Seamus Coleman and John O’Shea are fit and available for Monday night’s opening World Cup qualifier in Serbia. Photograph: AP
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill says that Seamus Coleman and John O’shea are both fit and available for selection ahead of Monday’s opening game of the World Cup qualifying campaign in Serbia.
The pair trained on Saturday, he said, and are due to take part in Sunday evening’s session at the Red Star stadium in Belgrade.
Neither player has played for their club in recent weeks and Coleman has not played competitively since the start of the new season but the manager insisted that he has no concerns about them as he prepares to select his team for the match.
“Seamus Coleman has played up to the start of the season,” he said at his prematch press conference in the ground. “He got injured on the Thursday before the season started but he played against Manchester United in a testimonial so he has come back and he is naturally fit.
“John has played too, it might be three weeks but he has played. He should be okay and I would have no qualms about putting players in in that situation.”
O’Neill says that he is wary of a Serbia side with “an air of rejuvenation,” about them and that while his side try to win the game, he would be happy, it seems, to take a point home with him tomorrow night.
“It’s not possible to play for the draw,” he says, “but in this competition I think it will be so tight, so tight that every point will be valuable. No one will run away with this group.
“In our European qualification campaign we won our opening game in Georgia and those three points proved very, very important for us but I think that any team that wins away from home in this group will have done very, very well.”