Saturday 21 July 2018

Martin O'Neill fears the impact 'unplayable' Nicklas Bendtner could have on Ireland's World Cup hopes

Nicklas Bendtner speaks to the media prior to the Denmark training session at Helsingor Stadion on November 7, 2017 in Helsingor, Denmark. (Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)
Nicklas Bendtner speaks to the media prior to the Denmark training session at Helsingor Stadion on November 7, 2017 in Helsingor, Denmark. (Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

Miguel Delaney

Martin O’Neill said he knows Ireland’s opponent Nicklas Bendtner has the potential to be “unplayable” for their 2018 World Cup play-off against Denmark in Copenhagen on Saturday - but only if he “sets his mind to it”.

O’Neill was the 29-year-old’s manager at Sunderland in 2011-12, and spoke of how he helped keep the club in the Premier League with one supreme goalscoring performance in a 1-0 win over Liverpool that season, but also referenced his frustration with a striker who didn’t always seem fully focused.

Bendtner is back in fine form for Rosenborg having hit 18 goals in 27 league games this year, and O’Neill is wary of what he can do in this seismic play-off.

“With Nicklas, very interesting,” the Irish boss first joked. “As only Nicklas can be. Yeah he was on loan from Arsenal and obviously a good footballer, a really good player, and when he set his mind to it he was excellent. He had to set his mind to it.

“He did it often enough for us during the course of that time. I remember one game in particular, it might have been against Liverpool, where he was unplayable, got us three points, and was excellent. Overall, really fine, stopped the side from being relegated. Played a big part in that and did really well.”

Independent News Service

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