An injury crisis in the Irish camp may give John O’Shea the chance to win his 117th Republic of Ireland cap on Friday night as Wales come to Dublin in a crucial World Cup Qualifier.
The experience of the Waterford man will be crucial in stopping Garth Bale and his fellow teammates, but the 35-year-old is quick to warn Ireland that the perception that Wales are just a one man team is a dangerous mindset to go into Friday night’s encounter, with the Welsh possessing many players who can do the Irish harm.
Indeed O’Shea would have faced the majority of them during his illustrious fifteen years as a Premier League player with Manchester United and Sunderland.
As reported in the Examiner, the Sunderland defender said:
“You have to just get on with it. When you’re playing in the Premier League, whether it’s against [Sergio] Aguero, [Harry] Kane, [Romelu] Lukaku, [Diego] Costa, there are top players there.
“The team has to get on with it. If you focus too much on one player, you forget about their other good players and they come to the fore.
“You respect him – obviously he’s a very good player, he’s playing for Real Madrid – but you forget about that and you get on with it to do your best against him.”
A win for the Irish on Friday night will be a giant step on the road to qualification for World Cup Russia 2018. Already sitting top of Group D, two points clear of Serbia in second, who go to Georgia on Friday also. The Welsh sit down in third position, four points off the top.
A defeat for Wales could see Chris Coleman’s men with too much to do with the games running out. In contrast, a win for Martin O’Neill and Irish fans will have high hopes for a return to a World Cup for the first time since 2002.
Damien McEvoy Pundit Arena