Monday 21 January 2019

Reid ready to take his chance

Gerry McDermott

LAST night's armed robbery at the Irish team hotel won't take away from the excitement Andy Reid feels as he prepares to make his Irish debut tomorrow against Canada.

The 21-year-old Nottingham Forest winger is expected to get a run at some stage of the friendly as Brian Kerr starts the process of shaping a squad capable of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

As a kid he watched Ireland play at Lansdowne Road on many occasions and can't wait for the opportunity to play there.

"It will mean the world to me and to get a chance to play any part in the game would be brilliant," said Reid.

The former Lourdes Celtic and Cherry Orchard player is a left-sided player and acknowledges that he faces a tough task breaking into the team.

"There are a lot of good players, especially on the left side, but Brian will know when the time is right to give me a chance," said Reid.

"I don't think I will let anybody down if I'm given a chance and I am really looking forward to working with all these good players."

The 21-year-old, who has scored an impressive nine goals this season, was named as the Nationwide First Division Player of the Month for October but stresses he is very much a team player.

"All these things are very nice but it's not really about individual efforts. It's all about doing well for my club and when the international team comes along doing well for them.

"It's great scoring goals but I enjoy creating them as well. I don't like to model myself on anybody. I try to be as individual as I can and fit into the team in that way."

The Dubliner is rooming with Damien Duff, who naturally slept through the drama of last night's armed robbery in the hotel lobby, and admits he is thoroughly enjoying the excitement of his first call-up.

"Damien and Robbie Keane are still the exact same people they were five years ago when they weren't really established.

"Everybody has made me feel really welcome and I have enjoyed my first couple of days training."

Reid is the latest member of Ireland's European U-16 Championship winning side to break into the senior team.

John O'Shea, Jim Goodwin, Graham Barrett and Joe Murphy have all won caps while Reid, Liam Miller and John Thompson have just received their first call-ups.

The success the team enjoyed in Scotland has bonded them together and Reid admitted it was nice to have some familiar faces in the squad.

"We all grew up together playing international football and we are all friends as well as colleagues and it is great when you see those guys doing well and I think it shows the quality that was in that squad."

While Reid will make his debut tomorrow, Miller will miss out because of a hamstring injury. Colin Healy is also out with a foot injury and has returned to Sunderland for treatment.

Steven Reid and O'Shea have recovered from knocks and Manchester City's Richard Dunne arrives in today leaving Kerr with 17 outfield players and three goalkeepers to select from.

The manager said the friendly games over the next few months will allow him to build a squad for the World Cup qualifiers.

"The task I have is to have it the way I would like, and we all would like, when the qualifying starts," said Kerr.

"There are going to be a lot more qualifying games because of the size of the groups so we will need to get a larger squad who are familiar with the roles in the team."

Kerr intends to mix with youth with experience with the side backboned by the likes of Shay Given, Kenny Cunningham, Matt Holland, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane.

"I inherited a team which had been efficient and played well at the World Cup. It changed a lot after the World Cup and over the period of qualification campaign some more players have dropped out.

"There are a lot of young players with a lot of potential and a fair bit of experience but have not had the opportunity yet to establish themselves in the team."

Canada arrived in Dublin yesterday after suffering their seventh defeat in nine games on Saturday when they were hammered 5-1 by the Czech Republic and will train at Lansdowne Road this evening.

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