Friday 15 December 2017

Euro 2012: Whelan wants players to 'loosen the reins a little'

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

GLENN WHELAN believes that Ireland have to be more ambitious this evening if they want to stay in Euro 2012, but concedes that an overly offensive approach will be brutally punished.

The Stoke player is facing into the biggest game of his career, and has compared it with the World Cup play-off second leg with France in Paris three years ago.

Giovanni Trapattoni allowed his team to be more positive as they chased a one-goal deficit, and the Dubliner feels that something similar will be required against the world champions in Gdansk.

"The reins have to be let off a little bit if we want to get something from it," said Whelan. "But, at the same time, we don't want to go into it and concede after three minutes and be chasing.

"We'll have our own game plan and, hopefully, we can go into it and give a good account of ourselves."

Whelan, who played against Spanish star Andres Iniesta in his underage days, admits that the Irish team face a massive task to upset the odds. But he still believes.

"We know it's an uphill battle now and nobody gives us any chance of getting out of the group which, on paper, is right. We have to go into the game and do as well as we can because we've got a lot of fans over here and it's not for ourselves, it's for them. We want to do as well as we can."

His team-mate Aiden McGeady is conscious of the pressure to do something for the massive support. That's why he isn't repeating the usual mantra that all the focus is on the favourites.

"The country expects us to get some points," he says. "We don't want to go home with none. We want to get something. I know people may have written us off already. All we can do is change people's minds by delivering in the next two games."

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