Tuesday 12 December 2017

Coleman's tips boost for Ireland

Wales manager Chris Coleman
Wales manager Chris Coleman

Martin O'Neill has tapped into Wales manager Chris Coleman's store of knowledge in a bid to grab any advantage he can in advance of the Euro 2016 play-offs.

"He was very helpful both on and off the field about things they had experienced there. He was very good," said O'Neill.

Of particular interest to O'Neill was what he felt was a change in attitude from Wales's first encounter with Bosnia in their group qualifying campaign to the final one in Zenica.

"He didn't think there was a great change in attitude, he thought they'd done well in Wales to get a draw and had a couple of chances in a tight game," he said.

"By the time they came around to the second game he felt that they were very much up for it, now they had a chance of qualifying. They needed to win that game and against Cyprus as well," he said.


Coleman also helped with some of the finer details of planning for a trip to Bosnia and clearly, O'Neill is not expecting the full red carpet treatment from his hosts.

"He told me the things to expect but I've been involved in European games myself and I've a fair idea," he said with a wry smile. "It was nice to know that some things haven't changed."

Cold showers?

"No that would be John Beck at Cambridge. Way back in my Wycombe days. No, I think we've stepped up to lukewarm now," he said laughing.

O'Neill will not tax his squad too much in the next few days and will spend most of his time concentrating on fundamentals.

"All the players who are with us apart from Keiren (Westwood) trained. We have a couple of training sessions to negotiate so we'll have to be careful about that. I think it will be organisational rather than physical, we won't be doing too much work."

O'Neill will pay particular attention to the work his goalkeepers do. With Shay Given out and Keiren Westwood struggling, Darron Randolph and David Forde become very important players indeed.

"I thought Darron did really well in difficult circumstances, playing the world champions and trying to keep a clean sheet. And he came in and he was very calm and sharp and I thought that calmness pervaded the rest of the players. I thought he did very well.

"Keiren is playing at least regularly with league games and we will see how his injury is over the next couple of days. It's nice to know that somebody is playing pretty regularly, if nothing else."

That fact was enough for Randolph to get the nod ahead of Forde when Given limped out of the German game.

"I think Darren was coming off a couple of games he had played in quick succession at Premier League level and David hadn't done so."

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