Belfast Telegraph

Republic have a big future, says King

By Damian Spellman

Noel King has told the Republic of Ireland's next manager he can look forward to a bright footballing future for the nation.

Under-21s coach King, who was asked to take charge of the senior team for the final two World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan following Giovanni Trapattoni's departure, is confident the current squad has what it will take to make a fist of the Euro 2016 campaign.

In addition, he believes there are younger players emerging from the ranks who will enable the Republic to punch above their weight as they have done so often in the past.

King, whose side lost 3-0 in Cologne on Friday evening, said: "If whoever comes in wants to play in a European way, they will have seen that in Cologne. They will have seen that, that's European football.

"Going forward on the counter was terrific; back to defending was terrific; working together and being compact as a unit was terrific.

"Did we have enough of the ball? Obviously not. Would you have it against Spain? Would you have it against Brazil? No.

"If we can better at doing what we are doing, well that's the forward way.

"But then a man comes in and he may decide to play a differently. That would be his prerogative."

Martin O'Neill, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane continue to be linked with the vacancy, but whether it is one of that trio or someone else who takes over, King, who has effectively been told he will not be considered for the role on a permanent basis, is convinced there is cause for optimism.

Trapattoni repeatedly bemoaned his lack of world-class players, but never failed to be impressed by the passion and the work ethic of the men at his disposal, and King is hopeful that reinforcements will be available for the new manager.

Asked if there is talent waiting to emerge, he said: "There are certainly players in the Under-21s and lower who are going to be full international players, there's no question about that. They are on the way, champing at the bit –maybe one or two that I might have brought into this group in a different circumstance.

"But definitely. We are Ireland, we have a football population of 500,000, they say, we also have a few people we can get in with mothers and fathers who have been born outside the country, which is no problem.

"We are not the biggest power, but we have to devise a way to try to live with those powers and win the matches, as is traditional.

"Kazakhstan and Ireland, we are not that dissimilar, so we have to make sure that when we play these teams, we have a plan that can get us success there as well."

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