herald

Friday 23 February 2018

Duffy: 'We have coped with better than Eriksen'

Irish defender Shane Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile
Irish defender Shane Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile

An international rookie before Euro 2016, Shane Duffy has managed to adapt well to life in the Ireland side and in the Premier League with Brighton.

And while he will be tasked with keeping the shackles on Spurs man Christian Eriksen in Saturday's World Cup test in Copenhagen, Eriksen a man in form having scored on his last six appearances for the national team, Duffy is confident that Martin O'Neill's outfit will be ready and able to deal with the man who struck a blow at the heart of European champions Real Madrid only last week.

"He is in form, unfortunately for us. He is obviously their key player," says Duffy.

"We have dealt with bigger and better players in this campaign already. It's just another one to tick off and do our job, focus on the team more than him. I think we've got the players to do enough.

"Nicklas Bendtner is a tough opponent and we'll take them all seriously, they've got some good players like the lad [Thomas] Delaney in there as well, he's a good player.

"I wouldn't have anything to fear against anyone, really. I think we can beat anyone on our day, no matter who they are. But we've got to be respectful of them, they're a good team and they can hurt you.

"You've just got to think about the rewards, and the reward here is the World Cup and you've just got to have the games of your life, really, and that's what we want to do."

An experienced pro at this stage in his ninth season of senior football, Duffy knows all about the highs and lows, and how important confidence - or a lack of it - can harm a player.

Figure

He struck rock-bottom, in terms of his career, in a dreadful spell at Blackburn Rovers where some poor performances, some own goals and red cards led to him being at first a figure of fun and then a figure of hate for some of the Ewood Park support. "If you look back it's day and night, really. I'm just happy it's going well," he says.

"I've been at the low parts and I'm just enjoying a little bit of success at the minute where everything is going well. I just have to keep going.

"I never questioned myself. I always thought: this is football, you don't turn into a bad player, it's just form and everyone loses form. Obviously I just had to get my head right.

"The Brighton move helped me develop into a better player, playing in a better team. International football has brought me a long way and I think I'm just going to get stronger hopefully."

And a run of games, and clean sheets, in the Premier League has helped.

"The team has been working well. We're obviously new to the league and it's been great that we've got a couple of clean sheets recently. The clean sheets are better for my confidence as well - keeping good teams out. Hopefully I can another two now which would be nice," he added ahead of the trip to Denmark.

"I think we have got to go there and win, try and score. You have got to go into every game like it's the Wales game, you've got to win. If you approach it like that, for me it's the best way. If you go there thinking you've got another game, you could get punished."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News