Monday 19 August 2019

Fringe men Robinson and Curtis are now looking to take centre stage

Mick McCarthy. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Mick McCarthy. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The Ireland squad watched the Champions League final together on Saturday evening, a gathering that serves as the bridge to the serious business of the summer international window.

Mick McCarthy gave his players a few days off after Thursday's training exercise with the U21 side.

The countdown to Copenhagen began in earnest yesterday, with Christian Eriksen's involvement in Madrid linking the two events.

"We've got to get ready to face a player of his ability," said Callum Robinson, a childhood Liverpool fan who hopes there might be a hangover for the Spurs playmaker.

Robinson and Ronan Curtis were rolled out for press duty on Sunday morning, two players who missed the March double header.

For Preston's Robinson, a serious hamstring issue was the first injury of his career.

Curtis was sidelined for three weeks by a freak injury after catching his finger in a door as he rushed out to a team meeting with Portsmouth. The wind blew it shut in a manner he wasn't expecting; he nearly lost it as a consequence.

"It was just a little tiny piece of skin that was holding it on," explained Curtis, in graphic terms

"So what I had to do before I went to the hospital was peel it back over and hold it myself, just hold it in place until I got to the hospital. They managed to save it.

"And they have done an amazing job on it, the surgeons and plastic surgery people."

Halted

It halted the momentum of Curtis who has been a revelation since leaving Derry City this time last year. McCarthy has consistently mentioned the left sided attacker in dispatches.

And it's possible that Pompey will face a fight to hold onto the 23-year-old as he has been identified as an individual with the ability to operate above League One level. He has changed agent since moving over the water.

"I've still got a year and a bit left on my contract at Portsmouth," he said." We'll see if clubs are interested. It's just rumours really."

Like Robinson, he is realistic about his prospects of involvement in Copenhagen. The mission is do enough this week to be considered as an impact sub.

Terry Connor and Robbie Keane have been doing work with the attacking players, with Robinson referencing how the well regarded Connor has been coaching him on his movement off the ball.

McCarthy had a full turnout for training yesterday with all of his playoff players back in town.

Glenn Whelan was present after his release from Aston Villa was announced on Saturday afternoon.

Irish Independent

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