Niall Quinn praised the Republic of Ireland’s senior players for their reaction to last weekend’s humiliating defeat to Luxembourg.
Manager Stephen Kenny named a more experienced line-up for Tuesday night’s friendly against Qatar and former Ireland centre-forward Niall Quinn believes it was hugely important that the more senior players stood up to the challenge.
While Kenny is still waiting for his first win as Irish boss, Quinn believes there was much to be encouraged by following the 1-1 draw against Qatar.
Quinn hailed the performances of experienced players such as captain Seamus Coleman, goalscorer James McClean, Shane Duffy and Shane Long.
“A lot of positivity – I think they were a credit to their manager and to the supporters tonight,” Quinn said on Virgin Media Sport.
"It was a great reaction, spearheaded by the senior players and I hope their stock is more valued from this point on."
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 30, 2021
“I think they played with a great attitude and I’m delighted to hear from James McClean that they wanted to make up for it.
“I said it before the game that I wanted the senior players to show what they’re made of, even though their stock has been devalued since Stephen has come into the fold.
“Tonight was a night to say, ‘Hey Stephen, look at us!’ And I was delighted that Stephen mentioned them in his interview. He still goes on about his U21s and that’s the way he is.
“But I think the senior players stood up to it tonight and to me, that was the most important thing – that they showed what the dressing room can be when these guys are in the team.
“They’ve got leadership qualities – Seamus Coleman, McClean, Shane Duffy, Shane Long up front. There was some great efforts from players who haven’t really been in the favour of the manager.
“I’m really happy that happened and I’m happy that the spirit of the side showed and that the younger players were helped out by that, which allowed them to get more creative. They weren’t afraid to go forward and they weren’t hitting the dead end alleys that they were hitting against Luxembourg.
“They were getting in behind, they were trying things and they had the chances to win the game. I think it was a great reaction by a group of players, spearheaded by the Ireland’s senior players, and I hope their stock is more valued from this point on.”