'There's no other word you can use to describe him' - Ireland wary of 'incredible' Mbappe

Jayson Molumby started for Ireland against Latvia last Wednesday. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

BACK to back appearances in the final of the World Cup, a Nations League title and the presence of one of the deadliest players in world football – France come to Dublin for Monday’s Euro 2024 qualifier with a lot of impressive baggage.

But Ireland midfielder Jayson Molumby says the squad will spend the weekend trying to pick out weaknesses in the impressive France outfit that Stephen Kenny’s outfit can exploit.

Currently playing for a side mid-table in England’s second tier, Molumby knows that Monday will see him – if selected – scale new heights in terms of opposition.

“It will be the highest, for sure, the biggest game I'll have played in if I feature. These are the games everyone wants to play in, the ones you dream about as a kid, hopefully the atmosphere is electric which I think it will be, I am just looking forward to it,” says Molumby.

“He [Kylian Mbappé] is incredible, there's no other word you can use to describe him. An unbelievable player, he has achieved so much so far in his career at such a young age, I am looking forward to that, playing against him.

“We know these players are playing at the very top level in world football, they got to the final of the World Cup, playing at massive clubs. I haven't personally looked at them individually, as an actual player and what their strengths are, the next few days we will do individual clips with the manager, with the assistant Keith [Andrews], to identify what their strengths are, their weaknesses, as every player has a weakness, I am just looking forward to analysing them a bit more.”

Wednesday’s friendly at home to Latvia was a chance for certain players to play their way into the side and Molumby, already a firm favourite of manager Kenny, did his cause no harm with an impressive display in midfield.

“Every game you play for your country has to be taken like that, you need to perform, it never stops, the pressure is always there. You need to perform to stay in the manager’s thoughts,” he said.

“Obviously I try to influence the game as much as I can. Everyone has different ways of influencing the team and the game and I’m just delighted to help the team in any way I can. I thought I did OK in the game, I was pleased enough. I was meant to have a quite disciplined role in terms of staying quite centrally and not venturing too far forward. That’s something I don’t play often with West Brom or Ireland but obviously Josh [Cullen] wasn’t playing and I sort of had to pick up that position.”

A rookie at club level when he made his senior Ireland debut in a poor 1-0 loss at home to Finland in 2020, he says he has come on a lot since then.

“Probably night and day to be honest,” he says when asked to compare.

“When I first came in I probably wasn’t playing regular first-team football. I think now with the experience that I have, the games that I’ve played, I feel a lot more comfortable, I believe in myself a lot more. It helps playing regularly at club level and I’m at that age now where I feel really comfortable playing for Ireland, I feel confident.

“I think I’ve come on in leaps and bounds. I’m way more disciplined in my game but you can’t take that [energy] out of me or I’d be half the player, but I feel that comes with maturity and I feel like I’m getting there."

The off-field task for Molumby is to source enough tickets for the amount of family and friends who want to be there on Monday.

"Yeah, I am trying to scrape tickets out of a barrel," he joked "There is a lot of people from back home in Waterford looking to come up, I am trying to look after everyone as much as I can."