herald

Monday 21 May 2018

Daryl: 'New Boys in Green can lift us'

Murphy sees bright future for Ireland

Daryl Murphy has retired from international football, but insists new faces can help Ireland qualify for Euro 2020
Daryl Murphy has retired from international football, but insists new faces can help Ireland qualify for Euro 2020

He will no longer play a role for the national team as he has decided to retire, but Daryl Murphy believes that a new generation of players can come through to help the Republic of Ireland qualify for Euro 2020.

Murphy announced in The Herald that he was retiring from the national team, allowing the 34-year-old to focus on his club career, Murphy currently sidelined at Nottingham Forest due to a rib injury.

He is the first from a group of thirty-something players in the Irish squad (including John O'Shea, Glenn Whelan, Wes Hoolahan and Jon Walters) to make public his plans at international level, though Martin O'Neill said last week that he hoped some of the veterans would stay around.

Excitement over the Premier League debut with Southampton last week for Dublin-born teenager Michael Obafemi is tempered by reports that he is close to declaring for Nigeria, which if true would further reduce O'Neill's options.

But Murphy, capped 33 times (2007-17) says he sees good times ahead. "I think the future can be good for Ireland, I know there's a lot of doom and gloom around but I think we have players coming through," says Murphy.

"The friendly games in March and May are an opportunity for Martin to have a look at players and give them a chance, to prove they are international players.

"We have good lads in the squad who can help those young players come through so I'm not worried," added the Forest striker who says he's aware that former Waterford striker Aaron Drinan, on the bench for Ipswich Town recently, has already been dubbed the 'new Daryl Murphy' due to his Ipswich and Waterford links.

Reflecting on his career, which almost never took off after a bad experience in England with Luton Town, Murphy says he is proof that young players should never abandon hope.

"It's been a long road for me, from the young lad who came home from Luton Town to playing against France at the finals of the Euros," he says.

"Football is full of ups and downs and I was very down when I came home from Luton, I had no idea what was in store for me, I just wanted to get back home to Waterford, be with my family and friends and play football, enjoy football again, and luckily for me it took off.

"When I was playing in the League of Ireland for Waterford, I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to get back across the water, and I knew if I got another chance I was well equipped to succeed, I knew what I had to do, I'd had that harsh lesson at Luton and thankfully it all worked out in the end.

"The lesson is to never give up. I always tried my best, whether it was in training or in games. Sometimes it wasn't enough but I always did my best.

"The older I got, the more mature I was, my understanding of the game improved, I knew my strengths and weaknesses and I learned how to play to my strengths. That all came together at Ipswich under Mick McCarthy," added Murphy, who hopes to resume training with Forest this week having injured his rib in December.

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