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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Cyrus: Coleman advice 'fantastic'

Séamus Coleman. Photo: Sportsfile
Séamus Coleman. Photo: Sportsfile

Defender Cyrus Chrsitie says he's not boarding the Ireland team's flight to France tomorrow to make up the numbers on the plane as he's desperate to make an impression in Euro 2016.

While many positions in the Ireland team are up for grabs, especially in defence with two candidates for left back (Robbie Brady and Stephen Ward) and four genuine contenders at centre half (John O'Shea, Richard Keogh, Ciarán Clark and Shane Duffy), the right back slot is not in question, Seamus Coleman guaranteed to start against Sweden on Monday.

Christie is only likely to see action in France if Coleman is injured or suspended, while he could also come into the frame at left back but, still, the Derby County player wants to impress.

"I'm not here just to make up the numbers. I want to play," says Christie, who won his fifth cap (and had a tough night) in the defeat to Belarus last week.

"I want to be putting thoughts in the manager's mind about playing but I've a big task in front of me with Séamus, who's been probably the best right-back in the Premier League for the past number of years.

"I definitely want to play, even if it's left-back or right-wing as well if I could do a job. I have to keep putting thoughts in his mind when I'm training and playing. I think I've done that. It's up to me to find a way into this team and get playing regularly. I'm surrounded by fantastic players so it is going to be a tough task to try and get into the team, but I think once I get in there, I can stake a claim," he added.

Christie does have one advantage over the current holder of the right-back slot as Christie has scored for his country in his five games, Seamus Coleman yet to score in 34 appearances.

"Séamus mentions it every time we play," Christie jokes.

"He's like 'oh, don't score today, you'll make me look bad'.

"But he's a fantastic player. I think the goal will come for him sooner or later. He does get a lot of opportunities, he scores a lot for Everton. He's talking to me about how did I do, and what can I do better, and what I did well and what I didn't do well. For me that's fantastic because he plays at the highest level."

After a weekend off, which Christie used to go back to the UK to attend the wedding of his former Coventry team-mate Callum Wilson, it was back to work for the squad yesterday, that Euro prize in sight.

"I think the boys are taking it in their stride, very laid back at the minute. I think everyone knows what task we've got ahead," he says.

"Obviously everyone keeps talking about how tough the group is but we played against the world champions and we beat them and we go into the tournament very confident and had a great campaign through the qualifiers. We do work hard, off the ball, not just on the ball and I think we will cause a few teams problems."

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