Vera Pauw: Training against boys ‘is the only way’ to gain required intensity

Ireland looking to end six-game losing streak against Iceland on Tuesday

Ireland’s Katie McCabe in action against Iceland in the first friendly international. Photograph: Eggert Johannesson/Inpho

Ireland’s Katie McCabe in action against Iceland in the first friendly international. Photograph: Eggert Johannesson/Inpho

 

Iceland v Republic of Ireland, Laugardalsvollur, Reykjavík , Tuesday, 6pm Irish time – Live RTÉ Player

Practice with boys. Two pitch sessions. Every single week. Vera Pauw’s unequivocal solution to the main problem facing the Republic of Ireland squad sounds like something she has been screaming into the void for an awfully long time.

“The circumstances were very difficult but that is no excuse for not fighting and not getting your DNA going,” said Pauw, immediately after losing 3-2 to Iceland last Friday, as her team struggled to cope with the intensity of international football.

“Somehow we were overwhelmed again,” said the Ireland manager before identifying a quick fix. “The thing is, if you always play under low pressure, it is as if every time we need to get used to that pressure again, before we can play in that pressure.

“If you don’t experience it, then every time it will happen again.

“So, again, I will say you have to train with boys. You need to get that pressure. There is no other way.”

Sessions are being arranged for Ireland’s home-based players, Pauw explained, to face high-level male opposition twice weekly.

“It is the only way.”

Can this be done before the World Cup qualifier against Georgia on September 17th?

“Yep,” Pauw responded. “The insurance is arranged. The coaches are helping to get a good place for the players. And if we do that in a very broad range, also under 17 and under 19, they train two or three times with the club so there is space for extra training with boys one or two times [per week]. And that [would] mean they experience every week the pressure that they feel here.”

This does not apply, for example, to Ireland captain and Arsenal winger Katie McCabe.

“Katie is training six times a week under the highest pressure. Training two times a week at women’s national league level, which is a good level, but it is not Arsenal level.

“You can see it; the ones who are knocking on the door are the ones who have always trained with boys. It really does pay off. Research shows the ones who train with boys are injured less.”

Tuesday evening’s match is a second run at the same opposition. Iceland were chosen to prepare McCabe’s side for a superior Scandinavian style of play, ahead of vital qualifiers against Sweden and Finland next year.

A more pressing need for the Irish players is to end a six-game losing streak that dates back to September 2020.

“But what is confidence?” replied Pauw to the suggestion that an Andorra-type scalp is needed. “Confidence is being sure of your task, executing that at your best level and growing in that. You will not get that against lesser opponents.

“It is six games in a row we have lost but we see the growth in every single game.

“Of course everybody now wants a win, and we will go for that, but the thing that is only in the back of our minds is we need to qualify.

“Again, I want to highlight that Fifa has taken three slots out over the year which means only six games for the countries just under the [elite] level. The best countries have their tournaments. They will have their games.

“So Uefa really [need to] think how to deal with that, because you want to close those gaps, right? The only way to do that is to play international games.”

In the meantime, an easy solution is staring the FAI in the face.

“The players have to train with the boys to get this momentum going and to lift the level of the women’s national league.”

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Grace Moloney (Reading), Courtney Brosnan (Unattached), Eve Badana (DLR Waves).

Defenders: Keeva Keenan (Celtic), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Niamh Farrelly (Glasgow City), Louise Quinn (Fiorentina), Diane Caldwell (North Carolina Courage), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Claire Walsh (Peamount United), Éabha O’Mahony (Cork City), Áine O’Gorman (Peamount United).

Midfielders: Jamie Finn (Shelbourne), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ciara Grant (Shelbourne), Roma McLaughlin (Connecticut Fusion), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne), Ellen Molloy (Wexford Youths), Katie McCabe (Arsenal).

Forwards: Heather Payne (Florida State University), Rianna Jarrett (Unattached), Amber Barrett (FC Koln), Saoirse Noonan (Shelbourne), Aoife Colvill (Glasgow City).

Referee: Kirsty Dowie (England).

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.