Belfast Telegraph

Anger tinges Brady's pride over Republic of Ireland skipper's role

Rep of Ireland v Iceland, Friendly, Aviva Stadium, Tonight, 7.45pm

By Cian Tracey

When Robbie Brady took his seat at the front of the room, the expression on his face suggested a deep sense of anger still lingered after Friday night's events.

When he leads the Republic of Ireland out this evening, it should be an utterly proud moment but instead it is offset by the fact that the country's captain still lies helpless in a hospital bed.

The likelihood is that Seamus Coleman will remain there for at least the next few days but it won't surprise anyone if the Everton defender has some words of advice for Brady, who will captain the Republic for the first time against Iceland.

That Martin O'Neill has chosen Brady to skipper the side speaks volumes for how highly he is regarded and, even though he might not be the automatic choice, he at least gets an opportunity to prove that he can lead the team as the manager ponders Coleman's replacement.

The 25-year-old knows all about seizing his moment in a green jersey. After all, it was predominantly in friendlies that he impressed before cementing his status as one of the first names on the team sheet.

Captaining teams is not something that Brady has done all that often in the past but it's a challenge that he is relishing.

"I have just captained at underage internationally, that would have been the last time I captained the side," Brady explained.

"Obviously it would be a dream come true for me. I'm looking forward to leading the lads out and hopefully putting on a good performance and get a good win."

There was no getting away from Coleman's horrific leg break during the 20 minute conversation with O'Neill and Brady and it was telling that the Burnley man referenced his skipper as one who has already had a big impact on him since he took over the armband from Robbie Keane.

Coleman really thrived in the role during the Euros last summer and had picked up where he left off in this qualifying campaign.

Brady already has plenty of responsibilities within O'Neill's system, particularly set-pieces - an area that the Republic lacked in quality against Wales without him - and he admitted that he wasn't sure whether he would adopt the vocal approach or lead by example.

"I'm not sure what kind of captain I'll be - like I said, it's my first time captaining at senior level. I'll see how it goes," he said. "But I've played under some great captains and I previously played under a great captain in Seamus Coleman. So I'll lead the team out hopefully the best I can.

"It has been disappointing obviously, for our captain and the lad that Seamus is. It's always disappointing. We knew straight away when it happened. The lads are obviously disappointed for him. We are all there to help him as best we can through it."

Having been suspended for Friday's draw, Brady is itching to get back out at the Aviva this evening.

"It's always frustrating when you've got to watch on and you can't do anything to change the flow of the game," he added.

"But with the lads ready to come in, they put in a good shift and we got another point on the board.

"Friday night is behind us now. I was disappointed not to play but I am just happy to be back in contention."

Belfast Telegraph


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