Friday 18 October 2019

Ireland captain Seamus Coleman insists senior players need to 'step up' after dour Danish draw

Seamus Coleman during a Republic of Ireland training session at Ceres Park in Aarhus, Denmark. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Seamus Coleman during a Republic of Ireland training session at Ceres Park in Aarhus, Denmark. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

Seamus Coleman has insisted Ireland's more experience players need to step up if Ireland are to qualify for Euro 2020

The Everton defender admitted the past year has been a "negative" one for Martin O'Neill's team but he felt there was still some positive to take from 2018.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport after Ireland's dour scoreless draw in Aarhus against Denmark, Coleman said senior players need to pick the baton up and drive the team forward.

He said: "It's been a disappointing year there is no doubt about that, it's been a learning curve for myself and some of the other lads who are 40, 50 caps mark.

"We don't have your Richard Dunnes, your Robbie Keanes your Damien Duffs to carry us through any more, we have to pick up that baton and perhaps some of us haven't done that strongly enough and then the young lads coming in will have learned alot from this year.

"I know some kind of positives to take from a negative year is that mentally we can be alot stronger going into the games in March and that is the way we have to look at it.

"You are hoping for the best draw you can get but we are capable of big nights and we can't forget that it's not been a good year but mentally we can learn alot from this year.

"I know personally I learned alot and I am sure some of the older lads have learned alot aswell that we need to step up more and come March I have no doubt about it that we will be ready, I know this is the thing we have to say but I truly believe we will be ready."

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Michael Obafemi embracing his mother Bola after the final whistle. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The captain also had some kind words for teenage debutant Michael Obafemi, saying he hopes the 18-year-old can develop further when he returns to his club Southampton.

Coleman said: "It's great for Michael, he is a really, really nice young lad and he has been great around the camp as a player he is good, he is strong. Hopefully he can go back to club level and kick on.

"You don't want to put too much pressure on Michael but I suppose we are looking for a goalscorer."

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