Andrew Omobamidele ready for the ‘ultimate test’ against Kylian Mbappé
Ireland defender Andrew Omobamidele says he will relish the chance to take on Kylian Mbappé and the other World Cup winners in the French squad when Didier Deschamps’ side come to Dublin on Monday.
Stephen Kenny’s side have a friendly tomorrow at home to a Latvian side ranked 133rd in the world but that match is all about preparing for the first game in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, at home to the French.
The trio of Mbappé, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann have 131 international goals between them, Mbappé with six goals in his last six games for Paris St Germain, a potent threat to the Irish defence.
But Norwich man Omobamidele, back in the squad after a 10-game absence due to injury, is not afraid.
“It’s the ultimate test, really, to see where you are as a player and as a team, because obviously we know France are a good nation. So it will be a good test for us. I’d be happy. I’d embrace it,” he says of that individual duel with the PSG star.
“After the game you are walking off knowing where you are as a player, because that is the ultimate test for any defender in the world. I think everyone agrees that he is a good player, he is quick, and I’d like to think I’m quick too.
“When the draw came out, obviously when we saw the teams in there, I was more excited than anything. It’s perfect to test yourself personally and as a team against these top nations. I am more just excited to see how it’s going to go. We know they are a top country, back-to-back World Cup finals, but the games against Portugal and Serbia, these top teams, they can give us confidence going into the game.”
His club-mate Adam Idah gave Kenny an unexpected boost by reporting into the Irish camp last night to try and prove his fitness even though Norwich boss David Wagner had ruled Idah out of contention with a foot injury.
France, embarking on something of a rebuild post-Qatar which will see AC Milan ‘keeper Mike Maignan replace Hugo Lloris in goal in the qualifiers at home to Holland (Friday) and away to Ireland (Monday), have issues, especially in defence due to injury (William Saliba, Wesley Fofana, Presnel Kimpembe) and retirement (Raphael Verane).