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Andrews: ‘I want a win’

THREE really is the magic number for Keith Andrews and the rest of the Ireland midfield as Giovanni Trapattoni is, finally, about to play a three-man central midfield in a competitive game.

TRAPATTONI yesterday announced his side for tonight's World Cup battle with Germany at Lansdowne Road and that will see Andrews play as part of a three-strong central midfield, the aim already clear: to stifle the threat to Ireland from Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil.

Because of suspension and injury, tonight is Andrews' first chance to play in an Ireland shirt since he was sent off in the final minutes of our final game at Euro 2012, that red card forcing him to miss the opening game of the World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and then a troublesome Achilles meant he was left out for the friendly win over Oman.

The outcome of tonight's game could depend on how Ozil fares against Ireland's new-look midfield but the addition of an extra body in the middle should make things easier for the Bolton Wanderers man.

“We play for a manager who believes in a system and it's a system that's brought us a lot of joy in the four years he's been with Ireland,” Andrews said.

“But he seems to have taken on board what happened in the summer, and maybe we were overrun at certain times in the games in Poland and it was very difficult for us.

“So he has experimented a bit in the games since then, especially against Serbia and Oman and he said after the Oman game that he'd consider playing an extra midfielder against the Germans because of the system they play, they play three in the middle,” he said.

“At the highest level now not many teams play with two out-and-out strikers. The way football has gone over the last few years you play with one lone striker as teams try to dominate possession.

“Even at club level you find that having an extra midfielder is easier. At Bolton we play two up front but we have three narrow midfielders with one winger, and just having that extra body in midfield, when you're on the ball or chasing the ball to get it back it's more successful.

“People are saying we need to play an extra man in the middle, but we've seen that the system we have had, with myself and Whelo in the middle, has been successful for us. I know I am contradicting myself there so it's the manager's call,” he said.

The manager has of course made that call and Andrews will join forces with James McCarthy and Keith Fahey to try and get something from the night.

But Andrews is not happy with talk of Ireland settling for a draw.

“We have to try and beat them. If we come off the pitch with a point it could be seen as a good result depending on how the game went, we will not be playing for a draw. And let's face it, we're not good at playing for a draw,” he joked.

“Germany are coming to our home patch, we have a sell-out crowd and we have to put on a gutsy performance.”

There has been a good deal of change since the summer, with players like Keiren Westwood, Darren O'Dea, James McCarthy, Keith Fahey and Seamus Coleman all in the team for tonight, while other newbies like Robbie Brady, David Meyler and Conor Clifford are on the bench.

“I said after the Euros that we needed to have progression in the squad, getting younger lads involved with the squad and the team,” Andrews said.

“There was a lot of talk over the summer about the four senior lads maybe retiring and I felt it would have been a disaster if Robbie, Shay, Richie and Damien all retired at the same time, when young lads come in they need to learn from the experienced players.

“But the lads who came in against Oman seem to have done really well and that's great to see. They were given a chance and they took it, and we’ll see how they do against Germany if given the chance but I have every faith in them.”


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