Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

McInnes believes Flood can step up

Willo Flood has been linked with a call up into the Ireland squad
Willo Flood has been linked with a call up into the Ireland squad

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has hailed the impact of Willo Flood amid reports the midfielder is in line for an Ireland call-up.

The 28-year-old former Celtic midfielder, who joined from Dundee United last summer, is said to have impressed Martin O'Neill's assistant, Roy Keane, ahead of the new management team's debut against Serbia next month.

The former Irish Under-21 international has helped Aberdeen into the Scottish League Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals in the last two weeks, and won the central midfield battle along with Barry Robson during a 2-1 fifth-round win at Celtic Park.

McInnes said: "I'm always wary of club managers pushing their players too much for international honours and I don't know the strength in depth of the Republic of Ireland.

"But if you're asking me about the credentials of Willo Flood as a footballer, he has been such an important signing for me as a manager.

"He brings a consistency of performance, he brings an attitude to the team, he brings a personality to training every day, and he brings a real mentality to the whole club. Any manager is drawn to that type of player.

"He can play as well. He's got good feet, he chips in with the odd goal. But he always brings a level of performance. When Willo Flood is on your team sheet, you know exactly what you're going to get.

"If he's part of a successful Aberdeen team, which we hope he will be, then him and a few others might just be able to get the opportunity to be in international managers' thoughts.

"If they have been watching him of late, they will only be impressed."

Meanwhile, McInnes has challenged his players to treat their Scottish Premiership clash at St Mirren Park on Saturday like their recent cup ties.

He added: "They have got to take the confidence from those sort of results but recognise at the same time that, just because you beat Celtic and win a semi-final, it doesn't say it will be automatic against St Mirren.

"There's a challenge there, 11 players from their team trying to stop us winning, and we have got to be ready to go toe to toe with that. The same motivation has got to be there."

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