Brady determined to lay marker after making senior breakthrough

Paul Hyland

THE buzz about Robbie Brady has been around Dublin for a long time and for many who followed his career since he emerged as a real prospect with St Kevin's Boys, the only question revolved around how quickly, rather than if, he would be called up for a senior cap.

As we know only too well, Giovanni Trapattoni has a disturbing habit of falling out with Ireland's best young footballers and the fact that Brady has made it this far without any grief makes him unusual.

Watching him flying around Kingsmeadow yesterday in glorious sunshine and the ball stuck to his feet, the wonder is that we haven't seen him at this level much, much sooner than this.

That said, he has yet to make the breakthrough at Old Trafford and was tagged as a possible left-full in pre-season by Alex Ferguson, suggesting that his skills as a right-winger might not be enough for him to make the cut.

It is certainly a surprise that such a talented young lad hasn't been following the usual route involving Carling Cup and FA Cup ties.

Instead, he went on loan to Hull and while some in the know felt that this suited then manager Nick Barmby, whose son Jack is battling it with Brady for the same position at Old Trafford, it also gave him regular first-team football and plenty of it.

On his return to Old Trafford, Brady found that Ferguson had a new plan for him and was happy to play at left-full in pre-season and, if nothing else, he believes it will help develop the defensive side of his game. If he has a weakness, that would be it.

"Yes, it would actually add a string to my bow. If he is teaching me how to play there that's great and I feel better for playing there in pre-season. So hopefully it will help me defensively," he said.

Another loan spell has been mooted, but clearly his best bet would be a greater involvement in Ferguson's plans.

"I spoke to him early last month when he had me as cover for left-back and he wanted me to stay. But they've got cover at left-back now and I want to play as many games as I can so maybe another loan move would be good," said Brady.

"Once you're playing week in, week out it should be alright. I'm sure another move to Hull is an option but I'll see what the best move for me is.

"I enjoyed the season at Hull, it was my longest without injury and I got 40-odd games which is the most I've ever played in a season and I really enjoyed it.

"I think I've torn every muscle in both of my legs and an ankle injury kept me out for eight months. But touch wood I'm over that now."

Brady has been quietly hoping for a senior call-up for the last year and believes he put in the work at Hull which is now standing to him.

"I'm delighted that I'm in but I just don't want to come in, meet everybody, say 'hello' and go back out. Hopefully I have come in to stay.

"It was my first few hours and I really enjoyed it. They are a good group of lads and I have been welcomed from the first moment I came in. I know John O'Shea from United and Paul McShane when I was at Hull. I know quite a few of the lads from being around the football scene. So it wasn't as if I was coming in and not knowing anybody. They made me fit in so it was great. The manager said he had me on his radar for a while.

"I'm just delighted to have been called up to the squad. And, hopefully, come Tuesday, if I get a chance I'll be able to show what I'm about."