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Coleman: 'It's time for new Irish heroes to emerge'

SEAMUS Coleman is still seen as one of the new kids on the block in the Ireland team, with just 24 caps to his credit.

But the Everton defender says it's time for the current group of squad members to stand up and take on the torch previously held by senior pros.

Players like Coleman, James McCarthy, Wes Hoolahan and Marc Wilson, all in line to start in Tbilisi tomorrow night, have all amassed experience at international level but the Euro 2016 qualification bid will really be their first full campaign, and with players like Richard Dunne, Damien Duff and Kevin Kilbane no longer on the scene, it's up to the new crop to take over.

"We have to," says Coleman, who was rested for Wednesday's win over Oman but will reclaim the No. 2 shirt tomorrow.

"Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne, Shay Given, Damien Duff, even John O'Shea, they've all been brilliant in the past. Now the younger players need to step up. We need to start winning these games. And for personally I want to get to a major tournament and play in one."

Ireland have done their homework on the Georgians and Coleman says he is wary of them in Tbilisi.

"We know it's going to be a difficult game on Sunday. There are no qualms about that," he said.

"We've seen some of the highlights, we've seen Spain go there and struggle, we've seen France go there and struggle to come out of it convincingly.

"We know it's going to be a tough game. But we want to start the campaign strongly and three points is definitely in our minds.

"We have seen the videos, you do all the preparation for the team you're playing. We've seen what they're like. It's going to be a difficult game. They've had some top international teams visit them and struggle so we're going to have to make sure we are on our game to come out with three points.

"They've got a couple of flair players but as a unit they're very good defensively and they all work hard for each other. I'm sure it's going to be quite hostile out there as well. We're all capable of playing in big games and we want to start the campaign with three points."