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'We will stick to the game plan' - Heather Payne insists Irish mission in Germany not impossible

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Ireland's Heather Payne in action against Darija Djukic of Montenegro. Photo: Sportsfile

Ireland's Heather Payne in action against Darija Djukic of Montenegro. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Ireland's Heather Payne in action against Darija Djukic of Montenegro. Photo: Sportsfile

Heather Payne's 2020 season went into lockdown before anyone else.

While Ireland were dominating a dour contest against Greece in Tallaght at the beginning of March, Payne limped from the fray.

Little did she know she was hobbling away from her active career, missing the 3-0 win in Montenegro the following week.

"Unfortunately I got injured against Greece and it came back that I tore my hamstring so after that camp I went straight back to Florida and I did my rehab there for three months," says the Stateside Galwegian ahead of Saturday's Euro qualifier against Germany in Georg-Meiches.

"Then I started properly training again in June and I haven't had any problems since so that's been good."

Since being ruled out of action she is no different to anyone else in itching to get back in. But these days there is competition for places in an Irish team broaching an historic debut appearance at a major tournament.

"It all depends what Vera (Pauw, Ireland coach) has planned and what her game plan is and how she sees it going in to this game. I just have to put in the work in training, be sharp and click with the team again. We'll wait and see."

The Florida State star has already amassed 11 caps even though she has yet to turn 21 and is likely to feature against the crack German side who have thumped an astonishing 31 goals without reply in their four group games thus far.

The recurring script emanating from camp Ireland, unless the head coach broadcasts something entirely different when she meets the media tomorrow, is that a scoreless draw would be an acceptable result.

The Irish priority is to maintain the gap between them and the also-rans, not yet be concerned with closing the chasm between themselves and the Germans.

Not that they won’t try, of course.

"You look at the table," says Ballinasloe’s Payne of the Group I standings they currently lead after playing one game more, "you're not always going to look at the amount of games played and Ireland are sitting at the top so that's great for the mentality.

"We are all aware that Germany have a game in hand, they have beaten teams by a lot of goals and we have to play them twice and Ukraine. We will be level-headed because we still have a lot of big tasks ahead.

"Of course Germany are a very good side.

"They are the best in the group by a lot of goals but if we do have a game plan and we stick to it we are a good quality side with great players.

"We have always worked hard and we have got a result against the Netherlands before and I don't see why we can't do that against Germany as well.

"I don't think we are going to get too far ahead of ourselves or drop our heads. We will stick to the game plan and see if we can get a result."

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