Tuesday 21 January 2020

McClean's guidance has been vital for me - O'Dowda

Republic of Ireland's Callum O'Dowda. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland's Callum O'Dowda. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Amidst the drab encounter that was offered up at the Aviva on Tuesday evening, Callum O'Dowda's 20-minute cameo injected some much-needed pace into a contest that won't live in the memory.

O'Dowda might have expected to have been given the nod from the start but, for now at least, he is happy to bide his time.

That is not to say that he feels he is far away from commanding a regular starting spot because in his eyes that gap is narrowing.

Since breaking into the squad last year, James McClean has taken the 21-year-old under his wing and O'Dowda admitted that his influence has been crucial to his development.

"I don't think I am that far away, James McClean has been brilliant, absolutely brilliant in the last couple of years, he has really stepped up to it," O'Dowda said.

"I am working with him in training and he's a great person to have ahead of you, watching him train and in games, learning from him, so I don't feel too far away but that's the standard. It's good when you have someone like that ahead of you."

Edge Ireland's lack of a cutting edge was glaring in the two games over the last week but O'Dowda believes that he can bring something different to the side.

"For me, to sustain it at this level I need to be positive when I get on the ball, make things happen," the Bristol City winger maintained.

"When people say my name I want them to think, 'Oh yeah, he did well tonight, he helped the team', I want them to be saying, 'He scored that goal'.

"Step-by-step I want to be aiming towards that start, that's what I want, to help the team out as much as possible so we can qualify.

"There is big competition in the squad, we have some great players but I don't want to just be in the squad easily, I want to work for it.

"That's the good thing about our team, we have such good players, look where we are in the group, we are competing against great players and great teams.

"We aim to create more, but we are getting okay results. Yes, we would have wanted the three points against Wales but it's another point on the board and we are looking forward to the Austria game in June.

"It's been a good couple of years for me, the gaffer (O'Neill) and Roy (Keane) have been really good to me, giving me game-time and giving me good advice.

"Even on Tuesday night they put me on the pitch, so it's all good for me.

"It was disappointing to lose the home record, we wanted to go out and win, that was the vibe in the dressing room and everyone was annoyed that we lost.

"I got on in the game, which was good for me, but more importantly than that I wanted to make an impact, get something out of the game in terms of a result."

Irish Independent

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