O'Shea wary of German talent
Published 12/10/2012 | 07:32
Ireland defender John O'Shea has warned his team-mates they will need to stop more than just Mesut Ozil if they are take anything from Friday night's World Cup qualifier against Germany.
Much of the debate in Ireland this week has surrounded manager Giovanni Trapattoni's plan to deal with the mercurial Ozil, with the Italian having hinted he may consider asking one of his midfielders to take on the "impossible" task of man-marking him.
However, O'Shea knows how dangerous it could be to concentrate on one man, and said: "He is a fantastic player, but if we focus our attention too much on one of Germany's players, they have plenty of others with the quality to punish you."
He went on: "I played against [Lukas] Podolski in the first game of the [Barclays Premier League] season, so I am well aware of his qualities.
"But if I was to go through the whole team, I would be here for quite a while talking about their quality and ability. We have to be on guard for all the German players."
The Germans arrived in Dublin hot favourites to maintain their 100 per cent start to the campaign and secure automatic qualification from Group C.
Ireland's hopes of halting that procession have been dealt a succession of blows to an injury crisis which has robbed Trapattoni of defenders Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger, midfielders Glenn Whelan and James McClean and strikers Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane.
However, O'Shea insists a much-changed side - Seamus Coleman will make his first competitive start at right-back and there are rare opportunities in midfield for James McCarthy and Keith Fahey - can still upset the odds.
Asked if he would settle for a draw, the Sunderland defender said: "If we are going into a home game against anybody, we are confident we can win. But they are the second-ranked team in the world and we will see how the game goes.
"Sometimes when you get a draw, you are delighted, like when you score the equaliser in the last minute. On the other hand, if you score the first goal and concede in the last minute, then you are not very happy. We will wait and see, but obviously we want to win and we know how tough that will be."