Friday 15 December 2017

Christie can cope with German test

Ireland’s Cyrus Christie is looking forward to Thursday’s clash with Germany
Ireland’s Cyrus Christie is looking forward to Thursday’s clash with Germany

The last time Cyrus Christie went toe-to-toe with Mesut Özil, the end result was a bit of a spanking for the Irish full back.

So Christie, likely to play in defence for Ireland against Germany on Thursday barring a miraculous recovery for the injured Seamus Coleman, can only hope for a different outcome this week.

International football is still new to the 23-year-old, though he did achieve a feat last month by scoring on his competitive Ireland debut, against Gibraltar.

Stroking home a goal in a 7-0 win over the part-timers of Gibraltar, taking in Germany is another matter and Christie has already been on the receiving end of a German lesson.

"I played against Podolski and Özil - I know Podolski's not in their squad any more - when I was at Coventry, we had them in the FA Cup so I have played against them before, this will be a completely different game," says Christie, recalling an FA Cup third round tie in 2014 when Podolski scored twice in a 4-0 win for the Gunners against Coventry City.

"We did well but tired towards the end of the game and took advantage of us, it will be a tough game no matter who they have out and we need to be on our best game."

A year ago, the thoughts of this Derby County man on the World Cup holders would have held little relevance, but Christie is in line to start at right back in place of Coleman, one of possibly three Derby players in the Ireland starting XI.

That's presuming he can overcome the injury worry which forced him to sit out yesterday's training session in Dublin.

"My intention is to train on Tuesday," he says. "I could have trained yesterday. It was a precautionary one, just to give the extra day recovery because it was only a light session. Hopefully I'll be back in today and it will go alright."

The standard Champions League fare for these German players is - for now - beyond the realm of Championship boys like Christie, Richard Keogh and Jeff Hendrick, but he says he is going to relish, not fear, the moment.

"They've got an impressive squad. They didn't win the World Cup for nothing," he says.

"It's going to be a tough test. There is no pressure on you, there is more pressure on them.

"If we defend well and play well anything can happen. You saw what happened last time when John O'Shea popped up with the equaliser. On any given day anything can happen and hopefully we can come away with a win.

"You have to go out there, relax and play with confidence, that's what the lads will go out there and do. You need to prove that you can go out there and play against the best, that's where you want to be. You look at the teams they are playing at, the highest level, and that's where you want to get to.

"So you have to go out and prove you can play against them, you can play at the highest level, and the lads are more than capable of going out there and proving themselves," added the full back, hoping to win what would be only his third senior cap, having made his debut against the USA 11 months ago.

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