Time for new generation to prove they belong at top – Coleman
SEAMUS COLEMAN believes that tonight is the night for his generation to properly announce their arrival on the international stage.
The performance of Giovanni Trapattoni's refreshed side in Stockholm last Friday has been praised, and Coleman is not going to use their youth as an excuse if they struggle to beat Austria. He thinks they are old enough to expect to deliver.
"It's our chance, the younger lads, to step up and show we belong on the international stage," said the Killybegs man. "James McCarthy showed on Friday night why he is playing week in, week out in the Premier League.
"James McClean had a fantastic game. We're not that young anymore, 22, 23, 24 – we need to step up and be counted. Robbie Brady is ready and wanting to come in as well."
"We've always had confidence in our own ability, playing in the Premier League regularly. We just needed a chance to get in and impress the manager.
"I know we've lost a number of players from Euro 2012. Richard (Dunne) is injured but would be welcomed back tomorrow. Duffer is a massive player and I'm sure he could still play for Ireland – he is that fit. But this is our chance now."
Coleman (pictured above) has been hailed for his purposeful display from right-back, with his presence giving the team a new dimension from that department, in tandem with Marc Wilson on the opposite flank. However, the ex-Sligo Rovers man is keen to stress there is a method to the plan.
"It's just like with Everton. I don't just go flying off up the wing every chance possible," he said. "If Bainsey (Leighton Baines) is going down the other side, I have to tuck in. We were away to Sweden so I had to pick and choose when to get forward. If Marc Wilson is going forward on the other flank, I won't be going anywhere."
After securing the target in Stockholm, this encounter has taken on even greater significance.
"It's a bigger game, really," Coleman mused. Nevertheless, he doesn't believe that a draw would be a disaster. "It wouldn't be the end of the world," he said. "But we're not going to look to draw the game.
"If we bring confidence from Friday into it, then we can win the game. They are going well in the group and they scored six goals on Friday (v Faroe Islands), they'll be well up for it. We'll have to be as well prepared as we were for Sweden. It won't be easy, but we'd be disappointed if we didn't win."