Brighton defender Shane Duffy has said the Ireland squad will not get too hung up on the 5-1 World Cup qualifier defeat to Denmark.
Ireland’s hopes of playing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia were crushed by Christian Eriksen and Denmark in November 2017. Martin O’Neill’s men were outplayed and outclassed.
However, the boys in green will have a chance to make amends when they play their World Cup tormentors again in the Nations League on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium.
Shane Duffy, who described the match against Denmark as “a dark night”, said the Ireland players haven’t been talking much about that game and are hoping it to put it behind them.
“If we keep dwelling on it, it will keep on bringing back the bad memories. This is a fresh game, and we’re excited to go out and play against them again back here in front of our fans. Hopefully, we can put it right.”
The Ireland players will take encouragement from the absence of Denmark’s main man, Christian Eriksen. The Tottenham man got a hat-trick against Ireland in the 5-1 thrashing, however, the playmaker is ruled out of Saturday’s game with an abdominal injury.
However, Duffy refused to speculate whether the Ireland players took confidence from his absence.
“You can probably look at us and say we don’t have Seamus. It works both ways. He is obviously a top player, and it benefits us that he isn’t in the team, but I’m sure they have players that will come in and step up, like we do.
“They are a good nation, a good team, and we know about all of their qualities. I’m sure they have something planned if he doesn’t play, and we will have to try and stop that.”
Duffy did reveal his delight at welcoming back midfielder Harry Arter to the squad. Arter asked not to be named in the previous Ireland squad due to an argument with Roy Keane, however, it seems that these differences have been set aside.
“We’re delighted obviously, he’s a good player. The lads are behind him and now we’re excited to have him back in the squad.”
The defender spoke about playing in a three-man defence, a system that has been favoured recently by O’Neill.
“It’s quite difficult. When I play in the middle, sometimes I can feel I can get lost too deep from the rest of the lads. And then playing on the side if it’s on the right and side it is like playing as a full-back sometimes.
But anywhere, I’ll adapt to it and get used to it.”
The 26-year-old also spoke about overcoming adversity early in his career, to recently signing a new contract with Brighton.
“You just have to have that mentality of not giving up. I had a hard time in my career, where I was wondering where it was going. I didn’t know where I was going.
“Luckily enough, I signed for a club where they believed in me and gave me a chance to play at the top level. There’s not a better place to do that and that’s a key thing in signing a new contract.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else at the minute.”