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Sunday 22 October 2017

best of Ireland is yet to come: Brady

Brady is hopeful dead-ball ability earns a starting role

ireland v poland

ROY Keane admitted this week that it took him "twenty-odd" games to find his feet at international level, as he put it.

With just 11 senior caps to his CV, Robbie Brady is still at the early stage of a very promising international career and, ahead of tomorrow's vital Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Poland, the Dubliner admits that it's still a case of a lot done but more to do.

Two and half years after he impressed with a scoring debut in London, against Oman, Brady's Ireland story is still largely unwritten. He started just one competitive game (where he was taken off at half time) so we've only seen flashes in friendly games or off the bench in qualiifers.

"I've been in a while but, maybe between injuries and other things, I've not played as much as I'd like at this stage. I am feeling fit now and hopefully, the best is yet to come," says Brady, who seems to be more valued by Martin O'Neill than his predecessor.

"I have been here a bit longer, am a bit older and can probably understand a bit more what way the coaching staff is thinking, I've a good understanding.

"I'm feeling good, I am training well. If all goes well, I'll get a chance to play tomorrow," Brady added.

The Hull City man does not have the luxury of a nailed-down place in the side to face the Poles, but he is in the manager's thoughts. Brady impressed in the last international, the 4-1 win over the USA and his ability from free kicks in an asset to any team.

Previous Irish sides counted on men like Ian Harte and Denis Irwin to at least pose a threat or score from free kicks, but the Irish team has lacked that piece of weaponry since Harte's exit from the scene.

Once O'Neill decides on the shape of his team - what role (if any) for Wes Hoolahan, whether to play Jonathan Walters up front or out wide - the wing positions will become clear. Aiden McGeady and James McClean are likely to start if Walters is not handed a wing role but Brady feels he is at least pressing his claims.

"Everyone is fighting for those spots. This is where you have to impress him if you want to play.

"Hopefully I've done enough to be in his thoughts come Sunday," the Hull man admitted.

CHANCE

"I've hit a few free kicks in the last few days' practice. Hopefully, I get a chance on Sunday."

The fact that Brady is in Dublin at all is a tribute to his determination to play and his powers of recovery, after a slip on the Hull training ground gave him an injury which, it was feared could rule him out of the season.

"The training ground at our place, the pitch is not in the best condition, a little divot gave way and my calf popped," says Brady of his injury.

"I knew straight away I'd done something, it was very disappointing. I knew it was four-six weeks, I had one eye on this game all the time during rehab. I knew it was just about do-able if everything went well. And it did. I'm here and it's brilliant."

Having played in a Euro finals at U17 level (2008), Brady is keen to attain that level with the senior squad.

"It would mean everything - to go and be able to play in a big tournament is a dream come true for me personally. So I'll be giving 110 percent along with all the other lads and hopefully we can go and get the job done," he says.

"The be all and end all is qualification so it doesn't really matter how we get the points. If we win two games at home and we go and beat everyone else away, that's good enough for me."

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