Robbie Brady believes Republic of Ireland rivals will struggle to cope in Belgrade
Robbie Brady left Serbia satisfied with a hard-earned point while predicting trouble for the Republic of Ireland's Group D rivals in Belgrade.
Brady, who has grown increasingly influential for the Republic in the last year, was happy to have got off to a positive start in the battle with Serbia, Wales, Austria, Georgia and Moldova for a trip to Russia in 2018.
Asked about manager Martin O'Neill's reaction after the final whistle, he said: "He was happy with the result. He knew it was a difficult place to come and he is happy with the 2-2.
"We stuck at it and got the draw, which is not the worst result in the world. I don't think many people are going to enjoy coming here, so for us to get a point and move on is okay."
The game was the Republic's first since inspirational skipper Robbie Keane retired from international football after making 146 appearances and scoring 68 goals.
That meant the No.10 shirt was available and it was 24-year-old Norwich midfielder Brady, one of the stars of the Republic's encouraging Euro 2016 finals campaign, who was handed the honour of wearing it.
However, he revealed it came with a challenge he may find difficult to fulfil.
Brady said: "It's a massive honour. When it was available, I fancied it. I want to do well, I wanted to wear it. I just sent Robbie a little text. I said: 'I'll try not to do too much damage to it', and he said: 'Don't worry, you only need to score 69 goals'.
"He's happy I have it and congratulated me, so I'm hoping to go from strength to strength."