Wednesday 21 August 2019

Sean Dyche hoping return to Burnley fold can help heal Irish players' heartbreak

Sean Dyche has welcomed his disappointed Republic players back to Burnley
Sean Dyche has welcomed his disappointed Republic players back to Burnley

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has welcomed his crushed Irish contingent back to Turf Moor with open arms.

Stephen Ward, Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady all featured in the Republic of Ireland's heartbreaking World Cup play-off defeat by Denmark, with Kevin Long in the squad and the injured Jon Walters also involved in a supporting capacity.

After a goalless draw in Copenhagen hopes were high for a joyous night in Dublin, only for Christian Eriksen's hat-trick to pave the way for a humbling 5-1 loss.

As Dyche ponders whether to pitch them straight back into action against Swansea on Saturday, he is also considering the restorative effect pulling on the Claret shirt might have.

"It does hurt, for a nation and for an individual. It's your chance to go to the World Cup and it's a big thing," he said.

"But they seem OK. They're disappointed they couldn't get it over the line and it's tough.

"Now they're back amongst a good group and they know our arms are open. They have to continue to move forward and they know that, you get some knocks during your career but you have to keep going.

"I think it does help, you get back amongst your team-mates and you realise that life goes on.

"The resilience they show on a weekly basis for us is part of their character and that's an important factor."

The Irish stable's misery will not be shared by all of their colleagues, some of whom can still look forward to next summer's tournament.

Icelandic winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson is a certainty to be in Russia if fit, meaning Burnley can expect to have their first World Cup participant since Northern Ireland's Tommy Cassidy in 1982.

Steven Defour, meanwhile, holds an outside chance of travelling with Belgium after earning a recall recently.

"Johann has done great, he's scored some important goals for Iceland and he's going along nicely for us, he continues to develop," Dyche said.

"Steven is slightly different, he only got a couple of minutes which was a bit of a surprise but I know (Belgium boss) Roberto Martinez quite well and he'll have his own view of where the group is at."

Jack Cork would probably admit he qualifies strictly as an outsider, having made a five-minute England debut against Germany last week.

Injuries to Jordan Henderson, Danny Drinkwater, Nathaniel Chalobah, Adam Lallana, Harry Winks and Fabian Delph opened the door for him, following Tom Heaton and Michael Keane as the the third Burnley player to wear the Three Lions under Dyche's watch.

"If me or my staff can help a player then that is a massive thing for me and that will be with me as long as anything in the game," he added.

"He should be very proud of himself and his family should be very proud of him. To play for your country at every level and now get that few minutes on the pitch, even if that is it, that's outstanding."

PA Media

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