Quinn backs McCarthy and Meyler to lead new generation of Ireland stars
NIALL QUINN believes that rising Irish stars James McCarthy and David Meyler have the potential to lead a new generation by making the same kind of impact as Robbie Keane and Damien Duff a decade ago.
The Sunderland chairman is thrilled by the emergence of Meyler at the Stadium of Light this season, with the midfielder's form recognised by a call-up to the Irish senior squad for the training camp in Malahide next month.
The Corkman will link up with another central midfielder in the form of McCarthy, who already has a full cap from the friendly with Brazil in March.
The Wigan man is 19, and Meyler 20, so hope springs eternal.
"The best two I saw coming through and they lifted the whole country, never mind the team, were Robbie and Damien," said Quinn.
"They were a massive plus for us, although babies at 17 and 18. They handled it brilliantly and went on to have outstanding careers, two of the best careers of any Irish sportspeople.
"It's up to players to seize that chance now. David, as thrilled as he is to meet up with the Irish team, he won't be star-struck but he won't be ignorant about it.
"James has done very well -- when Wigan played us, McCarthy was the best player on the pitch."
Quinn was speaking at the Sporting Fingal Community Trust Sports Conditioning Programme launch, an initiative which stressed the benefits of getting kids into the right habits early.
The former Irish international believes that Meyler's background has been central to his rapid development from Cork City reserve to Premier League regular.
The son of former Wexford and Cork hurler John has has won over management with a no-nonsense attitude, eschewing the temptations which come with his new territory. His energetic style reflects his desire.
"I cannot talk highly enough of him, or the way he has been reared," said Quinn, "When things go wrong, he blames himself -- not somebody else. It's pure attitude.
"The people in England don't understand this but I can see that hurling background in which his father brought him up in. That parochial thing that is in this country, for the love of the parish. He's not spoiled by anything.
"When he came into the team it was tough. We were going through a horrific run; the fans stayed with us but there was fear in the stadium.
"And this guy came along and just kicked his way through it. And it's not that he did not care, he just did not let him bother him.
"It's a wonderful approach that acts as a breath of fresh air when you deal with all the other type of problems when you deal with players and which we would have done in the last four years.
"He just wants it, wants to train hard. He does not look up to the guys who have the Ferraris and the different images. He just looks at hard work, it's a pleasure.
"His dad texts after every game and points out his mistakes which is unusual because most dads are texting looking for new contracts!
"We have given him a five-and-a-half-year contract -- I would have given him more if I had been able to."
Delighted that Giovanni Trapattoni has recognised Meyler's emergence, Quinn also hopes that the Italian hasn't forgotten about Andy Reid, unavailable for an Irish comeback because of the injury which ended his season prematurely.
However, with Darron Gibson also on the upgrade at Manchester United, the midfield department looks set to become the preserve of the new kids on the block.