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Thursday 22 August 2019

Ireland's new fitness coach says stats are 'much higher than they were previously for certain players'

Seamus Coleman, second right, with team-mates, from left, Shane Long Robbie Brady, Luca Connell and Shane Duffy during a Republic of Ireland training session at The Campus in Quinta do Lago, Faro, Portugal. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Seamus Coleman, second right, with team-mates, from left, Shane Long Robbie Brady, Luca Connell and Shane Duffy during a Republic of Ireland training session at The Campus in Quinta do Lago, Faro, Portugal. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

NEW fitness coach Andy Liddell says key Irish players are covering more ground under Mick McCarthy.

But he believes the secret to the manager's success is the way he treats his squad.

The ex-Wigan and Barnsley striker, who later had a brief spell as caretaker boss of Rotherham after an unexpected promotion from strength and conditioning work, was inherited by McCarthy at Ipswich.

They struck up a strong rapport, and McCarthy asked Liddell if he would be interested in coming with him to his next job.

Liddell (45) now lives in Portugal, close to the area of the Algarve where the squad spent the past week on their training camp ahead of the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers with Denmark and Gibraltar.

He is sure that the group will peak for the games, and feels that a willingness to go the extra mile for McCarthy will drive them on after stats showed they were putting in the hard yards against Gibratar and Georgia in March.

"The physical performance stats, like distance covered and high intensity distance, were much higher than they were previously for certain players... I wouldn't want to say which ones," said Liddell.

"I'm not saying that's the be-all and end-all. If you play against Barcelona and Liverpool, we're all going to run more but it does matter to a certain degree.

"It was a good contrast for me coming in because I've never worked at this level so it's learning for me. I was looking at the figures and it was interesting for me to be able to say 'oh, that player did that, what did he do before?'

Liddell describes McCarthy as the best manager he has worked with because of his man-management and how he interacts with his squad and staff - he said that the Irish supremo had helped him through a tough period in his own personal life.

"He gets the best out of the tools that are given to him," he enthused. "Whatever is given to him, he gets more out of them than I have seen anyone do. I have never seen any of his players have an excuse. No stone is left unturned, whether it's training and tactics.

"The season we got to the playoffs at Ipswich, I don't think I will see something like that again as that budget had no right to get into the playoffs.

"He treats people how he would expect to be treated himself and speaks to the staff - be it the chef or the cryotherapy guy - like he would to our star striker.

“He speaks to them all the same because that's who he is, he's a really top guy. That brings the best out of people."

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