Sunday 18 March 2018

Kerr happy to lock horns with Italy

Daniel McDonnell in Warsaw

BRIAN KERR is relishing the opportunity to lock horns with Italy, and also achieved his target of securing a home nation, after his Faroe Islands were pitted in the same group as Northern Ireland.

The Dubliner will have a difficult first full campaign in charge as Group C includes three teams who will participate in this summer's World Cup, with Serbia and Slovenia joining the Azzurri.

"There are pluses. The travelling isn't very difficult and commercially having Italy is important," said Kerr, "It won't be easy football-wise.

"If we weren't to play Ireland, I'm happy to be playing Northern Ireland. Friends have been on to say that the bus for Belfast is ready," he added.

The ex-Irish manager believes that Giovanni Trapattoni will be satisfied with his lot.

"From the football aspect, Slovakia and Russia will be the awkward ones but I think Ireland are well capable of dealing with those things," he said. "Russia will be difficult whether Guus Hiddink is still there or not."

"They'll be a tough nut to crack but it should be reasonably straightforward to achieve second place in the group, and possibly first spot."

Irish Independent

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