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O'Dea - New generation must step up to the plate

DARREN O'DEA has the same hollow-eyed stare favoured by globe-hopping businessmen who spend a good deal of their lives chasing the horizon and eating airport food.

After Kazakhstan, O'Dea didn't have much change left out of 48 hours by the time he got back to Canada and if he is feeling the strain, Robbie Keane must be too.

But O'Dea is a good soldier and doesn't mind the jet lag and exhaustion as long as he gets to play international football.

In his heart of hearts, he must know that he is one of the big winners under Trapattoni and now that he has his feet under the table, he won't be leaving anytime soon.

O'Dea has stepped comfortably into Shay Given's shoes as the man the media now look to for the most even view of events in the run-up to games, and he delivered on demand with a call to arms and a declaration that the time has come for new leaders to emerge.

"The same lads have carried the team for a long time and a couple have stepped away and a couple are injured. It's time for new people to come through. Not to take over but to start taking responsibility.

"There are plenty of lads coming through who will do that. Duffer, Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane and Shay carried the responsibility and when things were going right they got all the credit and when it went wrong they took all the flack as well."


O'Dea is an obvious candidate for a leadership role, although his commute from Toronto is less of a problem than the standard of football available at his club which he admits will require major surgery in the coming close season.

But he has a quiet authority about him and communicates very well indeed, one of the key requirements for those who lead.

"I don't think I'm a senior player yet. At 25, I'm probably the youngest defender here apart from Séamus (Coleman). But all of us have to take responsibility now and not leave it to other people.

O'Dea accepts that the performance in Kazakhstan was poor and that Ireland were very, very lucky to escape with three points.

But he has a pragmatic view of games in places like Astana and how sometimes the quality of the performance is neither here nor there.

"It wasn't a good performance there's no doubt but anyone in football, who knows anything, knows that when you go to a place like Kazakhstan, if you get the three points, it doesn't matter how you play."

O'Dea is expecting something entirely different on Friday night and is fully aware of the kind of power Germany will wield.

"I watched them in the Euros and they don't have one way of playing. Spain have a certain way and don't change but Germany can change. They have powerful, strong players.

"It will be a completely different game to Kazakhstan; a completely different atmosphere.

"We went to Kazakhstan to take the game to them and Germany will come here to do the same to us. We suck up pressure and counter attack and I think that suits us.

"But everyone will have to be at their very best for us to get a result out of this."