herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

McShane: It's a pride thing

Fiery defender at a loss to explain why players snubbed Ireland call-up

THERE was a communal raising of eyebrows the other day when Giovanni Trapattoni chose ‘sensitive’ and ‘shy’ as the appropriate adjectives to describe Paul McShane.

He's been called many things, but never shy or sensitive. On the surface he's stubborn, fiery, committed and a bit rash.

Trapattoni has looked deeper and sees a more complex character.

McShane offered a glimpse of a different side of his character when he sat with the media yesterday and revealed how hard it was for him to come to terms with events in Paris – his last competitive outing in a green shirt.

“It was very hurtful yeah, even to this day I still think about it. It was a great opportunity to play in the World Cup and I think we deserved it more than France.”

The moment is etched in his memory and when he recalls the moment Thierry Henry covered himself in infamy, lines of anguish still play across his face.

“I just remember the ball coming in the air; I don't know who went up for the header, I think it was Dunney. It sort of bounced and it was going out of play. He kept it in with his hand and I'm thinking, ‘no chance he'll keep that in'.

“If it's on telly, it brings back memories, but I'm not hiding from it. What happened, happened.”

McShane has clearly suffered since that moment and perhaps Trapattoni tapped into that when he saw a player hurting.

A sensitive soul might be tormented by such a setback. But McShane's soft side is balanced by something steely and he has shown in the last week that he is over the worst.

“I won't say it has been hugely disappointing not to figure since then because I've had a few injuries; a few niggly injuries which came at bad times. But I've got to keep looking forward and just try to get back in for competitive games.”

McShane is viewed with a mixture of exasperation and affection by Irish fans. They know the Ronaldo rollover, and the Messi dribble, but now they have the McShane chop.

INSTINCT

“That's what I'm calling it, the chop,” he said with a laugh.

“I did it before against West Brom.” His enthusiasm often gets the better of him and that's the exasperation bit. Sometimes he dives in when instinct should tell him to wait.

But he takes the slings and arrows with good humour and you sense that his sensitivity doesn't stretch to media opinions. Core self-belief is his key ingredient.

His commitment to Ireland has never been in the slightest doubt but he is reticent about making snap judgements about the players who decided not to turn up for the Nations Cup.

“I don't know what the situation was with them and whether they had injuries or not. If they don't it's definitely bad for the team not to turn up.”

He is unsure how the bulk of the squad will react if any of the missing men return in August but leans towards a few nervous moments followed by the status quo.

“If they come back in, I reckon the lads will just get on with it because you've got to try to keep a good atmosphere.

COMPLAINTS

“It's quite touchy, a touchy subject. But they couldn't have any complaints if they weren't called up next time.

“You can't be picking and choosing when you play for your country. If you are called up for the squad, I think you should turn up no matter what, even if you have an injury. Let the physio check it out.

“I'll always turn up no matter what. I'm just a diehard,” laughed McShane.

“I just love it, love representing my country. It's a big honour. “I moved over to England at 16 and I've always thought I was representing people from the start. The people I've grown up with.

“I'm representing my family too so I'll always turn up and put on that green jersey with a lot of pride. I know I'm saying a lot of clichés now but that's just the way I feel.”

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