Tuesday 23 December 2014

O'Shea already eyeing Germany test

Published 04/03/2014 | 17:47

John O'Shea is looking for revenge
John O'Shea is looking for revenge

John O'Shea is determined to set the record straight as Ireland prepare to meet the force of Germany once again.

Ireland found themselves thrust back into the path of one of world football's superpowers when they were drawn into the same Euro 2016 qualifying group for the campaign which gets under way in September.

Ireland will launch their preparations in earnest in Dublin on Wednesday evening when they tackle Serbia in a friendly following a victory over Latvia and a draw in Poland in November as new management duo Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane launched their reign.

But memories of a 6-1 humiliation by the Germans at the Aviva Stadium in October 2102 and a 3-0 defeat in Cologne in the reverse fixture 12 months later remain painfully fresh for those men who were on the receiving end.

Sitting alongside O'Neill, central defender O'Shea said: "Well look, you know how good they are.

"You want to test yourself against the best players, but also you can't be greedy all the time and say you want the easiest group or you want this and you want that.

"You get who you get and you have to get on with it. Germany will be a massive test for us, but look, I know the man alongside of me and we are not going to be having a team-talk beforehand thinking, 'We are going out and we are not going to win this game'.

"That's something that's going to be very positive to look forward to."

The Dublin demolition job very nearly cost then manager Giovanni Trapattoni his job, and his tenure was effectively on a downward slope from that moment on.

But professional pride dictates that the Irishmen who were so ruthlessly ripped apart that night are determined to atone for that capitulation this time around.

O'Shea, 32, said: "Definitely. Particularly at home especially, that will definitely be the case.

"But there are lots of other teams in the group as well who will be confident of taking their chances too to qualify because of the extra team that can qualify also.

"But we are fully aware. Look, we will see how Germany do in the World Cup in the summer beforehand as well, so we will know the quality we are going to be facing."

A convincing victory over an admittedly limited Latvian team and a hard-fought 0-0 draw in Poznan eased O'Neill and Keane into their new roles, but the hard work began in earnest this week as the pair started the process of honing their squad for the new campaign.

Serbia will represent a significantly stiffer test, and that is exactly what the manager wants with the draw for Euro 2016 in Nice having served to focus minds on the task ahead.

O'Neill said: "It's very close now. That's focused attention, [last] Sunday in Nice.

"From my viewpoint - maybe not from the players' at this point, they have still got big club matches to go - but from my viewpoint, it's something I will be concentrating on now.

"I know that there's a World Cup still to be played, but for me, yes absolutely, September, it will honestly fly around now."

O'Neill has signalled his intention to play an attacking brand of football where possible, a contrast to Trapattoni's famously conservative approach.

However, he will not adopt a gung-ho approach as he attempts to mould his team and playing style.

He said: "We want to try to score more goals, and the very natural thing is you want to try to create more chances to score more goals, so that's something we would be looking to try to do if it's at all possible.

"We have only had a couple of sessions, these are easy words for me to use at this moment.

"It's nice, it's comfortable and then Serbia keep ball for 10 minutes in the game and then you're asking, 'Where is this freedom of expression?', so just be steady.

"Serbia will be a real test for us for a start. Also, these matches in the Euros will be major tests for us, so while it's nice to hear these type of words that we are talking about, we have to earn the right to express ourselves. I think that's really important."

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