herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Doyle not taking his starting place for granted

KEVIN DOYLE says he won’t take his place in the Ireland side for granted for Sunday’s Euro 2012 opener against Croatia even if the manager has already named his starting XI.

Giovanni Trapattoni confirmed the worst-kept secret in Irish football last week when he stated that, barring injury, the team which started against Hungary last night would also be the same team to face Croatia in Poznan at Euro 2012.

A worrying number of chances created by Hungary last night in Budapest could force a change to |that plan with Trapattoni already suggesting that he could bin his standard 4-4-2 formation and use an extra midfielder to combat the amount of time and space afforded to the opposing midfield.

So that’s why Doyle is not assuming that he’ll be in the side to face Croatia on Sunday.

“I didn’t know he’d done that, I just heard now,” Doyle said when asked about Trapattoni’s premature team selection.

“Things can always change. He’s thrown in some curve balls before. I wouldn’t say it’s 100 per cent certain. It won’t change anyone’s intensity in training or how we go about things. It won’t make any difference to me,” added Doyle, who was glad to get through last night’s test against Hungary with no ill-effects.

“What’s that, four or five clean sheets in a row, a 14-match unbeaten record? I think it’s another good performance, a decent game as well. It will have done us the world of good. A lot of lads came on, a lot of lads

played. We looked as solid as always,” Doyle said, the Wexford man happy to see John O’Shea back in the side after injury forced him to miss the Dublin clash with Bosnia.

Fitness

“He’s been working very hard to |get himself fit. He’s trained the last week without any problems. He just fitted in like he hasn’t been away. It didn’t look like he hadn’t been training for the last few weeks,” he said of O’Shea.

Doyle was replaced at half time by Trapattoni but the Wolves man insists he had no beef with the Irish boss for finishing his night early as it was part of the game plan to give back-up striker Jonathan Walters a half.

“I knew I was coming off after 45, it wasn’t a problem, and it’s all just about Poland now,” Doyle says.

“We have been talking about this since November, speaking about playing Spain and Italy and Croatia, it seems like a long time, hopefully the next week will pass quickly and we can get going.”

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