Belfast Telegraph

Coleman: Republic's Euro bid will get stronger

 

Driving force: Seamus Coleman against Gibraltar on Monday night
Driving force: Seamus Coleman against Gibraltar on Monday night

By Damian Spellman

Seamus Coleman is hoping the Republic of Ireland will be at their best when they run into the big guns in their bid to qualify for Euro 2020.

The Republic made hard work of disposing of Group D basement boys Gibraltar in Dublin on Monday evening, just as they had done on a difficult night on the Rock back in March.

Ultimately, a 2-0 win at the Aviva Stadium left Coleman and his team-mates five points clear at the top of the table having played more games than their immediate rivals, although the 30-year-old is well aware that the tougher tests will come when the qualifying campaign resumes next season.

The Republic skipper explained: "We know people came here expecting to see some goals - we would have loved that ourselves.

"It would have been great to score early and then get a second to put the game beyond them. We didn't do that.

"We understand that pressure comes with the job and people won't be very happy with the performance.

"But we've got 10 points from 12 and that's how we look at it as professionals. The manager is happy with our points on the board.

"We've got some big games coming up and that's where we'll be tested. We went to Denmark and tried to play on the front foot.

"They played around us at times because they've got some quality, but I think sometimes it probably suits us playing against the bigger teams."

The early fixture list was kind to the Republic with the double-header against Gibraltar coming either side of their home clash with Georgia and a trip to Denmark, which was always going to prove the most taxing appointment of their first four Group D fixtures.

Coleman said: "We can only deal with what's in front of us.

"We know we've got some very tough games coming up and they're going to be the deciding games. We've got a bit of a headstart.

"Hopefully we can perform well, play on the front foot and make it difficult for them (Switzerland).

"I don't think they'll want to play us either, so it'll be interesting in September."

Meanwhile, McCarthy has no intention of trying to persuade the FAI to keep him on beyond Euro 2020 if he succeeds in bringing the Republic to the tournament.

McCarthy is due to be replaced by Stephen Kenny after the Republic of Ireland's interest in the competition ends under the terms of a succession plan agreed when John Delaney was chief executive of the association.

The current Irish boss was asked yesterday if he would initiate discussions with the FAI to see if the arrangement could be altered.

Kenny has brought the Under-21 side to the semi-finals of the Toulon Tournament - they play Brazil this afternoon - and the former Derry City manager has a written agreement to take over the senior team.

"I'm not looking to do that, that's completely unfair," said McCarthy, when the idea of discussing potentially staying on with the FAI was put to him.

"Stephen's been doing great with the Under-21s. They are playing Brazil in the semi-final and to be asking me that question when there's an agreement in place that it's going to happen, that's not really completely nice.

"I haven't given it any thought. I've got four more games to try and qualify for Euro 2020 and I'm hoping that's going to be the case, but if we get there and we do well and if that's my last of it, I would be delighted, I'm cool. That's my agreement at the moment, yeah."

Belfast Telegraph

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