Saturday 1 October 2016

Brady: We've had our eye on this game all year

Published 11/06/2015 | 02:30

Brady’s career hasn’t exactly gone in the direction he thought it might have and as he gets set to continue at left back against Scotland on Saturday, but he is happy to continue his defensive education
Brady’s career hasn’t exactly gone in the direction he thought it might have and as he gets set to continue at left back against Scotland on Saturday, but he is happy to continue his defensive education

It's taken Robbie Brady some time to find his feet at international level but it's easy to forget that his debut came just three years ago.

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Like so many other youngsters the Dubliner struggled to make an impact at Manchester United, but Alex Ferguson regularly favoured him as a wing back.

In terms of his playing position, Brady's career hasn't exactly gone in the direction he thought it might have and as he gets set to continue at left back against Scotland on Saturday, but he is happy to continue his defensive education.

"No, not when I first came in but in the last couple of seasons I have found myself in a more defensive role and I've actually quite enjoyed it," he says of his position with Ireland.

"There are times where you have to be more defensive rather than think about getting forward. Hopefully when I do, I'll try and make something happen."

Brady's attacking threat will always remain and his partnership on the left with Aiden McGeady will give Irish supporters real hope of getting the right result.

The 23-year-old was yesterday described by Martin O'Neill as a "real proper talent" and as he cements his place in the starting XI, the added responsibilities that come with the territory is something that the Hull City player relishes.

As well as his defensive duties this weekend, Brady will be asked to provide an attacking outlet and will also be entrusted with set-pieces - which may include penalties, depending who is on the pitch at the time.

"I'm happy enough, I quite enjoy it actually," he says of the extra pressure on his shoulders.

"I like the big games and the expectation and hopefully I can put in a good performance and show it.

"Everyone is the same, everyone has their own jobs. If I'm needed to do a few set-pieces as well as defend, I'm happy to do it. I practice quite a bit, hopefully they come off at the weekend.

"You can practice them all you like all week, the weekend is what's important," he insists.

Brady revealed that he was inspired by another Ireland international with a wand of a left foot but ironically, it was a set-piece that was Ireland's undoing in Celtic Park last November.

O'Neill has demanded an improvement at the back since the 1-0 defeat to Scotland and his side have responded by conceding just two goals since (including last week's behind-closed-doors 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland).

Despite not envisaging a career as a defender, Brady is growing more accustomed to his new surroundings and believes that lessons have been learned ahead of Saturday's must-win qualifier.

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"Ian Harte was one of the best ever with his left foot. He probably set me off wanting to take set-pieces, watching the likes of him," he enthuses.

"I think it was quite an even enough game (at Celtic Park) but the set-piece killed us. We switched off for a minute and you can't do that at this level, especially with the type of quick-minded players they've got and they punished us.

"I think everyone's preparation has been great and it's one of these games you have your eye on all year.

"It's not just that it comes around and it's time to play, you have your eye on this one all year. We'll be pulling out all the stops and hopefully we can make it a good one."

Ireland may be more solid defensively but it's in the final third that major improvements are desperately needed.

O'Neill's side have scored 11 goals - seven of which came against a hapless Gibraltar - in their five group games but Brady is adamant that Ireland will take the game to Scotland.

"The lads have been good all week. Our attacking play has been good and if we get a chance to show that on Saturday, we'll get at them from the start," he maintains.

"After the last time, it was an array of errors that led to the goal. We'll have to tighten up on that but we're looking forward to it.

"It was a chance let go the last time so we'll be trying to make up for it and hopefully come away with the three points.

"I love to get forward as much as I can but some games don't allow you to do that. You never know what can happen in the group but we'll be going all out for the win."

Nothing less will suffice.

Irish Independent

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