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Paul is hopeful of Green light


Ireland's Paul Green in action against Robert Lewandowski. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Ireland's Paul Green in action against Robert Lewandowski. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Ireland's Paul Green in action against Robert Lewandowski. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

PAUL GREEN is relishing the chance to enrol himself in a midfield masterclass after being handed a dream opportunity to work with Roy Keane.

The 30-year-old Leeds man won his 19th senior Republic of Ireland cap as a late substitute in new manager Martin O'Neill's first game in charge against Latvia on Friday night and then played the full 90 minutes as they drew 0-0 in Poland on Tuesday.

However, it has been the time spent working on the training pitch with O'Neill's number two Keane which has excited Green and his fellow midfielders.

Asked if the former Manchester United and Ireland skipper was a player he had always looked up to, Green said: "Yes – I think everyone looked up to him, really. He has won that many titles, he has been a great pro and a great player.

"It's been brilliant. He just said to stay behind the ball and break things up. It's always nice to get the perspective of a great midfielder like Roy."

Communication was often cited as an issue during Giovanni Trapattoni's reign as Ireland manager and the arrival of O'Neill and Keane have significantly improved that situation.

Green insisted that the veteran Italian, despite his limited English, was able to get his message across, but the flow of information from Keane over the last 10 days had proved invaluable.

He said: "With Trapattoni, his English wasn't the best, but you got out what you needed to get out of him. With Roy, he has played in that position and you take things in from such a legend. I did that and I felt I did a good job."

Green was asked to anchor a four-man midfield at the INEA Stadium in Poznan as O'Neill assessed the depth of his squad by making wholesale changes in the wake of a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Latvians.

Poland, as expected, were considerably stronger than Latvia, but Ireland held firm in the face of a late onslaught to claim a draw on a decidedly testing surface.

Green said: "I have not been playing for Leeds, so it was nice to get a full 90 minutes under my belt.


"He (O'Neill) just told me to sit there, break things up and just start play off, and hopefully I did that.

"You come into these friendlies, try to impress the management team.

"I just broke it up a little bit, but the pitch was horrendous to play on and it was hard to get it down and play. But we tried and it's a good result for us."

There has been huge positivity around the squad since they met up with the appointments of O'Neill and Keane having gone down well inside, as well as outside, the camp, although Green admits the excitement was, initially at least, tinged with a certain anxiety.

He said: "The first day in training, it was like you were on trial again, the nervous feeling and things like that.

"But everyone has got a fresh start and they have got to impress, and hopefully I have done that."