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Quinn's graph on the rise but midfield ace takes nothing for granted

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Stephen Quinn

Stephen Quinn

SPORTSFILE

Stephen Quinn

THE distance from Richmond Park, Inchicore to the Aviva Stadium in Lansdowne Road is less than seven kilometres, but in metaphorical terms, the home ground of St Patrick's Athletic is a world away from the environs now inhabited by proud Dubliner Stephen Quinn.

Just ten years ago the Saints had Quinn on their books, but Sheffield United liked the cut of his jib and signed him to launch yet another member of the Quinn clan into English football.

Now the flame-haired, capable and confident midfielder is a regular with Premier League side Hull and has played in the FA Cup final.

Equally important, the graph of Quinn's international career has shown a significant rise under the stewardship of Martin O'Neill and he's loving the involvement.

He has worn the green shirt at senior level 12 times, but, significantly, Quinn has started four of the last five games played by the Republic - two friendlies against Oman and the USA, and two Euro 2016 qualifiers against Georgia and Germany.

He also came on as a substitute in the last qualifier played by the Irish, away to Scotland, in the 'Celtic nations derby' which ended in a disappointing 1-0 defeat.

That said, Quinn has no intention of taking his place in the squad, never mind the team, as an entitlement.

The former U-21 international was forced to play a long game of patience between his first call-up for squad duty back in 2007 and making his senior debut in June 2013 against Georgia in the closing stages of Giovanni Trapattoni's regime.

Making up for lost time is a priority, but the big selection decisions are down to Martin O'Neill.

"You can never rest on your laurels, you have to come back and show the manager you're willing and able, that you are still working hard for a place.

"No one is guaranteed a starting spot. The squad is stronger than ever with some great additions and the manager will have some headaches," said Quinn.

Team spirit, allied to a good structure, and imposing plenty of pressure on Poland will be necessities.

Poland's star forward Robert Lewandowski is obviously a threat to the home defence, but Quinn highlighted the collective threat that the Poles will bring.

"It would be naive of us to single out just one player, even Lewandowski, so we've worked on them as a whole team, looking at videos and their set-pieces throughout the week," he added.

Irish Independent