Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Republic star Andrews starting to get impatient

Rather than seeking the sanctuary of the safe soundbite, Keith Andrews is an honest, straight-talking individual.

The Blackburn midfielder acknowledges that, in terms of the bigger picture, a draw against Cyprus in Nicosia on Saturday would be a disappointment. And, after waiting so long for his international chance to come around, the 28-year-old will be unhappy if he is restricted to role on the bench.

Certainly, after starting the crucial away games in Italy and Bulgaria, he didn't like being on the bench for the friendly with Australia last month as Darron Gibson was given the chance to shine.

“I was slightly disappointed,” he said, “I want to play every game. He did say to me before the game that I would be coming on at some stage and it was still nice to get another cap but, yeah, it's not nice to be on the bench when you have been starting regularly.”

Gibson struggled to seize his opportunity in that game, while Andrews did well after his introduction with Trapattoni hinting that he would get the nod in Nicosia. The duo are in genuine competition, but Andrews is not going to obsess about following the Derry native's progress at Old Trafford.

“From my point of view, I don't really care about any other individuals,” he stresses, “It's me I'm worried about. It's my performances at club level and here when I come in and am training.

“That's all I can affect, I can't really affect what other people do or don't do. From that point of view, it doesn't really bother me. I'm more bothered about myself and making sure my game is right.”

Anyway, he can always look closer to home for competition. His best mate at Blackburn is Steven Reid, who is hopefully at the final stages of a painstaking return from a year long absence. The Londoner was stuck in the ‘graveyard shift' at right back in his Carling Cup comeback for Rovers, and Andrews quips that he wouldn't mind if the same happened when he is fit to take the international stage again — with next month's showdown with Italy the target.

If the Republic can take the spoils in Cyprus, then Andrews feels that Croke Park encounter could be winner takes all.

“I think if we win on Saturday, we've got a fantastic chance,” he said, “Italy haven't an easy run-in, they've got to play Georgia on Saturday in Georgia and they play a very talented Bulgarian side as well. Come Saturday, we will know a lot more about where we stand.”

That's Andrews' motivation this week as he bears no scares from the previous, well documented trip to Cypriot shores. Back then, three years ago, he was a League Two player and has come a long way subsequently.

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