Sunday 18 March 2018

McCormack all set to shackle Serb schemer Ilic

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

CONOR McCORMACK was in the spotlight yesterday as he was named Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association Player of the Month for July.

This evening, however, he will be trying to keep Partizan Belgrade's most creative player out of the headlines.

Michael O'Neill believes that the experienced Sasa Ilic (33) will be a key figure for the Serbians. Playmaker Ilic, capped 37 times, has had spells with Celta Vigo and Galatasaray and also played under Giovanni Trapattoni at Red Bull Salzburg.

McCormack has performed extremely well for Rovers in a holding midfield role, and one of his tasks this evening will be to shackle Ilic.

Louth man McCormack spent his youth with Manchester United, and late teens with Triestina in Italy, and O'Neill feels that those experiences make the 21-year-old the most disciplined player at his disposal.

"If you give him a job to do, he'll go and do it," said the Rovers manager.

McCormack has been researching Ilic. "I heard he played in the World Cup in 2006 and scored, and he'll be the danger man, surely," he said.

"You can see from the DVDs that he's sharp, he's clever, he's intelligent. He tries to find space. He tries to run at you. I'll do my best to try and keep an eye on him."

Irish Independent

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