John O'Shea wary of Belgium threat ahead of Republic of Ireland Euro 2016 clash
Published 18/06/2016 | 09:41
John O'Shea has warned the Republic of Ireland that Belgium will be a major threat to their Euro 2016 hopes whichever weapons coach Marc Wilmots produces from his armoury.
The Belgian squad reads like a Who's Who of big-name stars with Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne among the names who pose a major threat to Ireland's mission to make it out of Group E.
O'Shea has got to grips with many of those men in the Barclays Premier League and knows from experience that he and his defensive colleagues will have their work cut out no matter which 11 names appear on the teamsheet at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on Saturday afternoon.
He said: "Whatever team we face on Saturday, we'll be fully aware of the quality that they have whatever options they do choose, so we will have to be prepared no matter what.
"They have a good mix of the physicality and the skill and whichever combination they pick, it's a quality combination, so it's something we are going to have to be well-prepared for.
"It's a case of you're familiar because many of their squad play in the Premier League, so you are familiar with some of their attributes.
"But it's also a case of we have to focus on ourselves as well. We know that Belgium have a very talented squad, but we'll be hoping that we will be able to cause them one or two problems ourselves.
"But we are fully aware that we have to be on guard all evening because they do have a talented team."
If Ireland are going to get out of the group, they are going to have to do it the hard way after Monday night's 1-1 draw with Sweden.
In all likelihood, they are going to have to beat either Belgium or Italy to progress, although having seen off world champions Germany during qualification, it is not a challenge which fazes O'Shea.
He said: "We have to get more points, obviously, to get to that knockout stage, so we have a chance tomorrow night against Belgium and that's the one we are focussing on totally.
"Obviously at the back of our minds, you know you have Italy also, but first and foremost, we have a difficult game to face against Belgium, but one we are looking forward to."