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Doherty: I need to find a way to bring out my best form for Ireland


Matt Doherty in action during Ireland training

Matt Doherty in action during Ireland training

Matt Doherty in action during Ireland training

He is the €16million man who is still trying to replicate his club form while wearing the green shirt of Ireland.

But Matt Doherty, who will win only his 12th senior cap in Bratislava tonight, says it's up to him to play well, and not play the blame game, to show just what a player he can be.

His club career has seen an upward trajectory for five years now, though he still takes time to step back in time and recall harder times, like a spell on loan to third-tier side Bury.

But international football has been a rocky road for the Swords man. There was a difficult relationship with Martin O'Neill, culminating in a tense phone call between the pair after Doherty criticised the manager's training methods (the word 'tosser' was used, and not by Doherty).

Mick McCarthy also struggled to find a place for Doherty and preferred Seamus Coleman, only for Stephen Kenny to show preference for Doherty last month.

Asked if Doherty the Premier League star has not been as impressive as Doherty the international, he nodded in agreement.

"You could say that. I think against the last camp, definitely," he says of last month's Nations League games, Ireland with a one-point haul from two games.

"The one before that, Denmark, that's the type of player you would normally see at club level. But I guess we (Ireland) play differently. We probably don't have as much of the ball as we do at club level.

"So yeah, I don't necessarily have a problem with that. It's up to me to find a solution.

"It's up to me to find a way to bring out my best game when I put on the Ireland jersey.

"It's nobody else's fault, nobody else is to blame for that other than myself. I need to find the way or the path for me to bring out my best game here."

Doherty was one of the big winners from Kenny's ascension to the throne of the Irish game but despite talk of a fresh start all around and a new way of thinking and playing, old sins remain.

The Republic need two away wins, tonight and next month, to make it to the Euro finals, but winning away from home has been beyond the team for far too long. One stat stands out, scarily: it's four years since the Irish side scored more than once in an competitive away game.

Yet Doherty, that big money move to Tottenham in the bag, says he's upbeat by what he sees around him

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"I'm just a confident person all the time. I see the lads in training all the time I see them playing for their club teams," he says when asked what gives him belief that the side can end that poor away record.

"I know the ability and quality is there and I know how well we can play. Not in the camp, but in the previous camp before that, I know the performance we're capable of.

"I'm just confident in the players that are here. I just back the players that are here, I have belief in the players that are here to go and win tonight and qualify for the final game.

"I back these players and we're good enough to get the job done. So we'll be doing that tonight."

He's still on a high from his move to Tottenham, though be laughs at talk of Spurs being title contenders.

"We are ambitious players, we're an ambitious club with the most ambitious manager ever, so I'm sure we will be battling on all fronts."