Belfast Telegraph

Returning Romania skipper Rat aims to be a real pest in Euro 2016

By Paul Ferguson

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis may have failed in his battle to be fit for tonight’s Euro qualifier in Bucharest, but Romania look set to have their talismanic skipper available at Arena Nationala.

Tricolorii coach Anghel Iordanescu, in his third spell as national team boss after the departure of Victor Piturca last month, breathed a sigh of relief after revealing Razvan Rat came through a light training session yesterday and is in line to win his 101st cap.

Left back Rat, who was with West Ham for a short spell last year, had been suffering from a groin strain picked up while playing for his Greek club PAOK two weeks ago.

However, 64-year-old Iordanescu is hopeful Rat will play. “In our training session Razvan Rat took part in the second half, and did not appear to feel any ill effects from the muscle injury,” he said.

Despite Rat’s expected return, Iordanescu will be missing several important players through injury such as forwards Ciprian Marica and Raul Rusescu, defenders Gabriel Tamas and Dorin Goian, and midfielder Alexandru Bourceanu.

“We find ourselves in a difficult situation with the national team facing many, many problems, especially injury problems,” said the coach.

“I think that for our most important match this year, against Northern Ireland, our team would need Marica Rusescu Bourceanu, Tamas, Goian, who have played a big part in our success in this campaign and the fact that we are in a strong position in the qualifiers.

“I also believe that things are made a lot more difficult at the moment by the fact that all the national team coaching staff went along with Piturca. Virtually no one remains to ensure a continuity of Victor Piturca’s staff.”

Iordanescu is expected to use a 4-2-3-1 formation tonight with 27-year-old forward Bogdan Stancu, who scored both goals in the 2-0 victory, over Finland last month, leading Romania’s attack and Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriche at right back.

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