Monday 20 November 2017

World Cup Diary: Meyler living a virtual reality

Republic of Ireland and Hull City's David Meyler at the launch of EA SPORTS™ FIFA 18, at Castleknock Golf Club. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland and Hull City's David Meyler at the launch of EA SPORTS™ FIFA 18, at Castleknock Golf Club. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Most of the time when a player rocks up for a corporate gig, they have to force out a couple of comments about the sponsor. And they are never convincing.

But David Meyler doing an EA Sports gig for the launch of FIFA 18? That's a different story because Meyler's release away from football is playing football on a computer.

Thousands of people watch him doing so online in a curious world that is now developing a personality of its own. The Ireland midfielder explained he is one of the world's top 100 players.

"There was a tournament on a few months ago and a young fella won £200,000, just from playing FIFA. He is probably the best in the world. I have played him," explained Meyler. "It was 3-1 but he wiped the floor with me."

It's a serious business and Meyler could well be playing the long game in a growing market.

There could be a few quid in it for him whenever he hangs up his boots.

Still, it's hard not to return to a playful Twitter jibe from Irish team-mate Jon Walters in a response to a Meyler post asking his followers if he was the only one who found himself whiling away hours on one of the FIFA game's special features. "No," Walters replied, "I'm a grown man and so are you."

Generous Doyle

There will be plenty of kind words said about Kevin Doyle this week but one tribute that passed under the radar over the past week came from his Colorado Rapids team-mate Jared Watts. No, we'd never heard of him either.

But that's the curiosity of the MLS - designated players on good salaries are bought in to share a dressing-room with locals who are earning small money.

Doyle recognised that and looked out for the others. "This guy is pure class," said Watts (25) in response to the news that Doyle had retired. "Legendary career but even cooler person. This dude bought me cleats (boots) for two years because I had no sponsorship."

Quote of the day

"I've had to say my piece to him about the Cork job. I'm born in Cork, grew up in Cork, and to me Cork is the biggest hurling team in the country. I've said to him that if the opportunity comes you've got to grab it with two hands and take it. I want to see him get it. I think he'll do well."

Meyler's father John is the favourite to become Cork hurling manager and he's got his son's backing.

Number of the day

11 Different countries that Doyle scored against in his 14-goal Ireland career - San Marino, Slovakia, Ecuador, Wales, Georgia, Cyprus, Paraguay, Andorra, Kazakhstan, Oman, and Costa Rica.

Irish Independent

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