Sunday 26 February 2017

Coleman can lead by example, insists O'Neill

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Seamus Coleman:
Seamus Coleman: "Playing at the Euros has really brought us together, and obviously coming away from Austria with a point would be a good result but we fully believe we can win." Photo: PA

Seamus Coleman is adamant that Ireland are a different animal to the side that folded on their last visit to Vienna.

The Irish skipper was a part of the team that came up short in Giovanni Trapattoni's final game in charge three years ago.

And the Donegal man feels this evening's encounter is the perfect opportunity to make a statement of intent on the road to Russia.

Austria holds some painful memories after late goals from David Alaba in both 2013 meetings ruled out qualification for the World Cup in Brazil.

"It was tough to take at the time but I think we've moved on a lot since those games," said Coleman.

"Playing at the Euros has really brought us together, and obviously coming away from Austria with a point would be a good result but we fully believe we can win.

"When you go out on the pitch with this group of lads, you feel you're going to be in it right until the very end. They leave it all on the pitch and definitely a win will put us in the direction we want to be going."

For the third time in the space of a year, adverse weather conditions could be a factor in an Irish away qualifier. Local weather reports indicated that heavy snow will fall overnight but the undersoil heating at the Ernst Happel Stadium should be able to cope with the worst case scenario.

However, freezing temperatures could make it an unpleasant experience for the players.

Ireland coped with the fog in Bosnia 12 months ago and the heavy rain that affected the pitch in Belgrade in September. Both those matches ended in a draw.

"We've just got to adapt to the conditions," said Coleman.

Manager Martin O'Neill feels that his captain's personality will be an asset if Ireland encounter adversity in a lively arena.

"Big players like Seamus will rise to the occasion," he said. "He's played a lot of big games in the last few seasons and he is capable of inspiring players to big games.

"These matches are exactly what you're in the game for."

Irish Independent

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