Tuesday 23 January 2018

We can't be afraid to try things against Germany - Hendrick

David Meyler (left) and Jeff Hendrick in conversation during training at Abbotstown yesterday
David Meyler (left) and Jeff Hendrick in conversation during training at Abbotstown yesterday
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Jeff Hendrick's moment of magic and pure cheek to lay on the winning goal against Georgia for Jon Walters can earn him a place in Martin O'Neill's team against Germany at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night.

Dubliner Hendrick won his 15th cap last month and marked the occasion with a tasty nutmeg against one Georgian defender, then twisted his way past two more before slipping the ball across for Walters to score.

The breakthrough came at the right time and Hendrick once again confirmed his positive rate of progress at international level.

First capped by Giovanni Trapattoni against Poland in February 2013, Hendrick is now at the stage where Roy Keane reckons players get comfortable with the difference between club and international football.

Comfortable maybe. Complacent, never. Derby County midfielder Hendrick is taking nothing for granted.

When asked if he felt he was now an established member of the squad, the 23 year old replied: "I don't know about that - I've only about 12 caps."

In fact, he has made three more appearances than his own estimate, and is likely to extend that tally tomorrow and on Sunday away to Poland in Ireland's last two Euro 16 Group D qualifiers.

He does, however, accept that the helter-skelter action of Championship football is played at a different rhythm compared with representing Ireland.

"It's different, obviously. Championship is just everything in your face, no time," he said.

"Then in international football you get a bit more time in your own half, but you have got to be clever in the other team's half because if you lose the ball, international teams have got a lot of great players who can transition quickly, and you can get punished."

Few teams do that better than this German side, and Hendrick knows what to expect from Joachim Loew's world champions.

"You have got to be on your game, and you have got to work hard. They are just the first things," he said.

"If you get the ball you can't be afraid to try things against them because you probably won't get it that often. They are a possession team.

"You see when they play other teams they have 70pc possession. You know they are going to have a lot of the ball, and you are going to be working hard.


"You have got to make sure you keep it, and try to do something good when you have it."

Hendrick is joined by Derby clubmates Richard Keogh, Cyrus Christie and Alex Pearce in the Irish squad.

Keogh (29) is the oldest and most experienced of the Derby quartet and spoke to FAI TV about the benefit of the club connection and the improvement in Christie and Hendrick.

"They've been great for club and country, especially Jeff - he has really kicked on," he said.

"Cyrus didn't start as many games as he would like to at the start of the season, but coming away and scoring (against Gibraltar) really boosted his confidence.

"When he got back to Derby he really kicked on and took that into his club form.

"Jeff has played so many games for such a young player. I know how good he is. He is a big asset to have at Derby - they both are."

Irish Independent

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