Wednesday 26 June 2019

Duff: England's players are not as passionate as Ireland's

Irish soccer legend Damien Duff. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportfile
Irish soccer legend Damien Duff. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Damien Duff insists that the current England squad lack the same kind of passion that Irish players have, and that is what will ultimately be their undoing in what he expects to be another doomed World Cup campaign.

The former Ireland winger acknowledged the quality within the inexperienced English squad, but he doesn't believe it will be enough to trouble any of the big boys in Russia.

"I think their quality will get them so far, maybe they don't have the clique going on," Duff said.

"I see English players pulling on the jersey - do they want to die for it or would they take a bullet for their country, like say an Irish team would? I'm not sure.

"You have to have that to win a trophy. They have quality, I wouldn't be so sure about the group as a whole."

Duff also suggested that some England players look upon big occasions with their clubs as the pinnacle of their careers.

"Possibly their biggest nights is the Champions League and their club stuff, and they're getting their half a million quid a week.

"But for me, I won a couple of leagues and what have you, but it was still the biggest honour to pull on the Irish shirt. Maybe it's just in our blood, who knows?"

Duff is hoping to see Argentina go all the way in Russia, primarily because the 'romantic' in him, wants to see Lionel Messi win.

"I'm just relying on Messi's magic," Duff maintained.

"He's the best every time. Nowadays with the Champions League he's compared to Ronaldo and yeah the stats are similar, but as an out-and-out footballer, Messi wins hands down."

Duff did, however, admit that was his heart ruling his head and if it was the other way around, France are his 'ones to watch', despite Les Bleus dredging up painful memories after Thierry Henry's handball in 2009.

"I went to France v Italy the other night and if they hit top gear, which you never know, if they even decide to train, they're not loved over there but you can't ignore their quality," he added.

"I'll have a laugh and a joke about it (handball). But I would have done the same (as Henry), I have absolutely no problem with them. I went to the game the other night, myself and my son both wore French jerseys."

Irish Independent

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