Friday 21 October 2016

Christie pleased to make the cut as rookie faces up to his big Coleman challenge

Cyrus Christie. Photo: Sportsfile
Cyrus Christie. Photo: Sportsfile

It's just about the toughest job in Irish football: getting a game at right-back ahead of Séamus Coleman.

But Cyrus Christie, despite having a tough night against Belarus on Tuesday night when he was badly caught out for the visitors' second goal, says he's ready for the challenge of trying to get a game at right-back, the Derby County player relieved to be in the 23-man squad which will travel to France next week.h

Christie has coped well when asked to fill in for the absent Coleman, especially in the away qualifier against Gibraltar where he scored his first international goal.

He had his good moments in Cork against Belarus but the manner in which he was turned by Maksim Volodko, who gave the away side a 2-0 lead, would be of concern, the hope being that Christie, still a rookie in international terms, can learn.


"Seamus is a great guy and we get on really well. For me, personally, he has been the best right-back in the Premier League for a few years now and for me to be challenging him for the right-back position is a big thing," Christie says.

"We speak regularly and he is always giving me tips on what I can do to improve my game and that's testament to sort of person that he is. He has spoken publicly as well about the competition between the pair of us and he says that I am pushing him all the way.

"To hear things like that said about you, from someone of his standing, is a great thing. I can't rest on my laurels with a player like that."

Christie was one of the Irish players who felt a large dose of nerves, before Martin O'Neill finally named his squad on Tuesday night.

His class and potential are evident, but the fact that Coleman - once fit - is a cert to start at right-back, with the versatility of David Meyler offering back-up in that position, left Christie without a guarantee.

So he's pleased to have made the cut.

"These are moments that you dream of as a kid - to represent your country in a major competition is one of those things," says the Rams man.

"I have got that chance, one that is so rare in football. I have had the pleasure of helping the side through the qualification stages and played in some really big games. I always felt that if I had a good season at Derby then I would give the manager food for thought."

Derby have the honour of providing three players to the Irish squad for Euro 2016, a boost for Christie to have fellow Rams Richard Keogh and Jeff Hendrick on the plane.

"It's great to have some club team-mates alongside me as well. Rich and Jeff played a big part in helping us reach the finals, so that's special," he says.

"The competition for places has been hot and remains that way. I want to be in a position where I can look myself in the mirror and say I have given my all, hopefully that proves to be enough."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News