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Arter up to speed on Eriksen challenge

Harry Arter couldn't resist getting into the mix on a fun late night Twitter exchange with his Ireland team-mates. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile Photo: Sportsfile
Harry Arter couldn't resist getting into the mix on a fun late night Twitter exchange with his Ireland team-mates. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The unknown quantities of international football have surprised Harry Arter. It will be a slightly different story on Saturday when he encounters a familiar opponent with the ability to cause havoc for Ireland.

The Bournemouth player has battled with Christian Eriksen and has an idea about the best way to deal with the Spurs playmaker, although the caveat is his awareness that players from the top bracket still have the talent to expose any game-plan.

Arter has knowledge in the memory bank and has a strong chance of being involved in Copenhagen after overcoming a rough evening in Tbilisi in September when the opposition's quality surprised him.

And that has taught him that Ireland must not make the mistake of just focusing on the devil they know in the form of Eriksen.

"I was watching them (Georgia) wondering why they don't get more results than they do," he admits. "We have to prepare for Denmark thinking the same way. Everyone will focus on Christian Eriksen but there will be players in the squad that namewise people might not be so aware of but no doubt they will have similar qualities."

The problem in Tbilisi, though, was that Ireland stood off their opponents and Arter and Glenn Whelan paid the price when they were dropped for the subsequent games with Serbia and Moldova.

He got back in for the Wales game after a discussion with Martin O'Neill where he recognised the need to do more and he acknowledges that Ireland's style of play - which revolves around putting pressure on opponents - has asked questions of him. Making life tough for Eriksen will be part of his brief.

"He's got great awareness, a great football brain and he's one of them players that will always find space somehow," says Arter.

"We're going to have to try and get tight as possible as he's the sort of player you can't give too much time on the ball to.

"These players who are world-class, they always find space, and pockets that you wonder how they get into it. It's good going into a game knowing his strengths, and knowing that we shouldn't sit off him.

"Whenever he gets the ball, you've got to try to get to him as quickly as you possibly can and try not to let him turn on the ball and see the whole pitch and don't stand off him; that's what Ireland tend to do, to try and get close."

David Meyler's suspension for the first leg means that Whelan and Arter could well be reunited and the 27-year-old is not convinced by the notion they don't have great chemistry as a midfield two. He's sure it can work.

"We've played together in friendlies and played well together," he stressed. "The Georgia game was just a disappointment all round.

"I don't feel that you could really pinpoint me and Glenn as the reason why the game didn't go as well as we would have hoped.

"Of course, individually we take responsibility for not playing well but as a partnership, I would hope, we are more than capable of playing with each other.

"We're different sorts of players, which is great ,so I have no doubt that if we were both to play in Denmark there would be no problem."

Irish Independent

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