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Sunday 22 October 2017

'We will get to Russia' - Meyler upbeat about Irish World Cup hopes

Republic of Ireland and Hull City's David Meyler. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland and Hull City's David Meyler. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

It was left to just one employee, Ireland's David Meyler, to fly the flag for Hull City at the European Championship finals in France last year.

The Tigers could well have a bigger representation at the World Cup finals in Russia next year, a tournament which the club's manager has more than a slight interest in, given that he has managed his native Russia.

"He is keen on international football, he was manager of Russia at the Euros, so he is big on international football," Meyler says of City manager Leonid Slutsky.

"Like any manager he says: 'Don't come back injured', in the sense that I'm out of Hull's hands for the next nine days. He wished me all the best. I'll probably speak to him during the week. He's all for it and he hopes that we qualify."

And Meyler, likely to play a big role in Friday's clash with Moldova in an Irish midfield ravaged by injury and suspension, is adamant that the road to Moscow is still an open route for this Republic of Ireland side.

"You talk about doom and gloom, but you guys in the press created the doom and gloom," said Meyler ahead of the first training session of this international break yesterday.

"If you'd said to me that we'd have two games to go - Moldova at home and Wales away - to give ourselves the best opportunity to qualify for the World Cup, are you telling me you wouldn't take it?"

"Obviously the fate is in the players' hands, but to give ourselves the opportunity to beat Moldova at home and then go to Wales and give ourselves a great chance of qualifying... I still believe that we'll go to Russia."

Meyler appears to be put out by the suggestion that Ireland, having been two points clear at the top of the group table 11 months ago, are now in third, aware than even two wins in the last two games will not guarantee a play-off place.

"We're Ireland, in the sense that we are not going to walk through a group," added Meyler.

Disrespect

Ireland’s Darren Randolph, left, and Scott Hogan are pictured during squad training at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown yesterday. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Ireland’s Darren Randolph, left, and Scott Hogan are pictured during squad training at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown yesterday. Photo: SPORTSFILE

"We've got Georgia, Austria, Serbia and Wales, four good teams, that's no disrespect to Moldova but they're not the same as the other sides, any one of us could beat any other on any given day.

"And you look at Austria and how disappointing they have been in terms of the calibre of country that they are.

"So you look at it and we've got two games left. We're far from out of this; we've got Moldova at home, which is the first game and so the most important for now, so we need to focus on that.

"We beat Moldova and we give ourselves a huge opportunity and we go to Wales, you talk about our destiny being in our own hands, it will be in our own hands if we beat Moldova."

Meyler comes into this camp with his own confidence high, having scored in a big win for his club against Birmingham last weekend, and a real chance of playing on Friday.

"I think if anyone has seen me play, what you see is what you get, I'll give you everything I've got the for the 90 minutes I'm out there or for the 45 or the hour or whatever it is. I'll give everything," says Meyler, admitting that he played at right-back away to Germany "as we were stuck. But I think the manager knows I'm there and available all the time, I'm ready to play for him".

But there's still room for improvement in his game, at least according to his dad John, currently the manager of Cork's U21 hurling side.

"If it's gone well, it's gone well and if it hasn't he's the first one to tell me," says Meyler, whose dad attended the weekend 6-1 win, where David scored.

"After the game he's saying: 'You need to do this better or that better' and I'm like: 'Yeah, I want to play with my daughter for a while'. That's the way he is.

"The biggest problem he has is that in the GAA you play and then you play in five/six weeks whereas we play Saturday and Tuesday and Saturday and we just keep going and games keep rolling on.

"He has five to six weeks to sit and dwell on a (championship) game and I don't which is why he's straight in saying I need to do this better or that better. I wouldn't change it."

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