herald

Friday 18 August 2017

poles apart

Dudek: faded Ireland have no stars but Poland have 'wow' factor

LIVERPOOL and Poland legend Jerzy Dudek believes that Ireland no longer have the star players capable of dealing with a Polish side who can close in on a place at Euro 2016 if they can win in Dublin on Sunday night.

Dudek, a Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005 and Poland's most-capped keeper, played in the Premier League against top Irish players like Roy Keane, Denis Irwin, Damien Duff and also played alongside Steve Finnan.

But he reckons the current crop under Martin O'Neill are not on the same level.

"Ireland don't have the big names any more. When I played you had guys like Keane, Finnan and Duff at Man U, Liverpool and Chelsea, you don't have that any more. But you still have good players," Dudek told The Herald.

"If your players look at the team sheet for the the Polish team, they will know some of our players but not them all. Yet if you look at the clubs where our guys play, I think your players will say 'wow' and respect them as we have players at top clubs in Italy, Spain, Germany."

Dudek also reckons that Dublin will be a home from home for his team.

Sunday's game at Lansdowne Road is a sell-out but the Poles expect to have a massive support to cheer on the group leaders, the largest-ever away support for a competitive game in Dublin.

"Dublin will be like home for us on Sunday with so many Polish fans there," Dudek added.

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