Tuesday 27 September 2016

Denis Irwin: Harry Arter should start against Sweden

Published 27/05/2016 | 22:59

Republic of Ireland's Harry Arter (R) in action against Netherlands' midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum during the friendly football match between Ireland and the Netherlands at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Harry Arter (R) in action against Netherlands' midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum during the friendly football match between Ireland and the Netherlands at the Aviva Stadium

Republic of Ireland legend Denis Irwin has urged Martin O’Neill to hand Harry Arter a starting place in his Euro 2016 line-up after his breakthrough performance in the 1-1 draw against Holland at the Aviva Stadium.

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Arter turned in an impressive display as he finally got a chance to start his first game for Ireland after an injury plagued international career, with the Bournemouth midfielder battling back from his latest fitness worry to give himself a chance to claim one of the final places in O’Neill’s 23-man squad for the finals in France.

After a display against the Dutch that may well have cemented his place in the Ireland squad, Irwin told Setanta Sports that there is now a case for Arter to start in the opening Euro 2016 game against Sweden.

“He is very comfortable on the ball and offers us something in that midfield area that I don’t think we have got,” stated Irwin.

“We are talking about him getting into the 23-man squad, but for me, he could actually start, especially with the (diamond) system Martin is playing.

“We will need more midfield players is Martin is playing that system and Arter has done very well. I know Martin and Roy (Keane) went to see him in the postponed game at Manchester United to watch him and he is very much in their thoughts.”

Arter declared himself satisfied with his performance as he made on his second senior international appearance, almost a year after his first cap against England at the Aviva Stadium.

“There is a good group of us not guaranteed to be in the squad,” stated Arter. “We were given a chance to attack the game be aggressive to try and get into the manager’s thoughts.

“I am happy in that system and having worked hard to try and get into this competition, I am trying to get in his mind to get on to the plane.”

Arter’s wait to discover whether he has made the final cut for the Ireland squad will soon be over, with O’Neill confirming his final 23-man travelling party for Euro 2016 after next Tuesday’s game against Belarus in Cork.

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