Saturday 18 November 2017

'We have to stop him' - Harry Arter says number one priority isn't thwarting Christian Eriksen

Harry Arter during Republic of Ireland squad press conference at FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Harry Arter during Republic of Ireland squad press conference at FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

HARRY Arter admits it's a "burning ambition" to play for Ireland at the World Cup finals, having missed out on the Euro 2016 finals due to injury.

The Bournemouth midfielder was very much in manager Martin O'Neill's thoughts in the build-u to the tournament in France but was unfit to travel. He is in the frame to start in midfield in Saturday's first leg away to Denmark, Arter likely to partner Glenn Whelan in a central role as David Meyler is suspended, and while Arter has had troubles at club level this season, recently dropped by Cherries manager Eddie Howe, the World Cup is a big deal for Arter.

"Playing in the Euros, or the World Cup, would be special, for this country," says Arter.

"I was disappointed to miss out [Euro 2016], more so as time went on, at the time I wasn't fussed but as time went on it has been harder, and getting to the World Cup is something I want to do."

Arter is likely to battle with Tottenham man Christian Eriksen in Copenhagen on Saturday but he feels Ireland cannot afford to ignore the rest of the Danish squad to focus solely on their Spurs talisman.

"You can't focus on one player, he is world class and deserves all the credit he gets, in the Premier League and the international side. We have to stop him and stop what he does but we can't just concentrate on him, we focus on ourselves first."

Arter is also eager to see midfield man Jeff Hendrick and defender Stephen Ward recover from their injuries in time to start on Saturday.

"We have to see how it goes over the next few days, they are two important and experienced players and I hope they will be ok, if it's possible at all for Jeff to play I am sure he will be out there," added Arter.

Martin O'Neill is still assessing the fitness of the Burnley pair as Hendrick was fit to do some training on Wednesday but Ward sat out the session.

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