herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Marc Wilson: We have nothing to fear from the Poles

Leaders Poland shown up as side who are beatable

Marc Wilson, Republic of Ireland, in action against Tomasz Jodłowiec, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium,
Marc Wilson, Republic of Ireland, in action against Tomasz Jodłowiec, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium,
Republic of Ireland's John O'Shea (top) gets to grips with Poland's Robert Lewandowski

WARSAW'S National Stadium has been a pretty comfortable home for the Polish national team since the place opened for business ahead of Euro 2012.

Portugal, Germany, England and Russia have all landed up at the Polish capital and went home without a win. Winning in Warsaw has been beyond Irish teams over the years and as they still sit proudly on top of the group table, Polish fans have more reasons than Irish supporters to make travel plans and check out what Air B&B has to offer in France.

But Marc Wilson, who manned the Ireland defence for Sunday's 1-1 draw, feels that a lot of the mystique has been stripped away from the Polish side, now that the teams have clashed in a competitive game at last (the first one since 1991).

Pre-match talk from the Poles was full of confidence, based on the club successes of players like Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik and Kamil Glik - none of who scored in Dublin on Sunday as that honour fell to former Wolves man Slawomir Peszko.

CONFIDENT

"We will be fully confident going over to Warsaw now that we've seen them play on the back of our display the other night," Wilson told The Herald, the Stoke City man already looking ahead to that key date in Poland in the last game of the campaign.

"I think automatic is there for us, we can only go from game to game and we still have tough games to come, the group is maybe getting harder now that the Germans seem to be coming to life and coming into form. It will be difficult to get one of the automatic places but we are still in there."

For Wilson, a key factor in Ireland's favour is that key man Lewandowski had a relatively quiet night in Dublin. The former Lech Poznan man has tormented defences across Europe in the shirts of Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Poland but he was subdued in Lansdowne Road.

"I think we kept Lewandowski quiet the other night, he didn't really bother us and that's a good tribute to our defence, he's a top striker but he didn't trouble us and that's down to a team effort on our part," said Wilson.

"The way the game the other night panned out in the end, we were happy with the point. We were a goal down but overall, in the second 45 minutes we had the chances to win the game but it wasn't to be.

"The lads off the bench gave us a bit more, no disrespect to the lads who started but the subs did make an impact. We had some great balls into the box, on another night we could have scored a few but it didn't happen for us last night and we had to make do with one goal," added Wilson.

Players now turn off from international duties to focus on the club scene but the time delay ahead of the June games - the friendly with England and the June 13th date with Scotland is not ideal,

"It's a tough schedule now as most of us finish in the Premier League on May 24th and you have nearly three weeks to the Scots match, we have the England game before then but we also need to keep in shape," says Wilson.

"The timing is not ideal and the boys who play in the Championship have an even longer break but we just have to deal with it and get ready for the Dublin game.

"Overall, the home record needs to change and we need a big win now but we will work hard to prepare over the coming weeks to make sure we are in a position to beat the Scots here in Dublin."

Afitzmaurice@herald.ie

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