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Saturday 18 November 2017

Meyler: 'Spirit will go long way but we need to play up too'

Ireland’s David Meyler. Pic: Sportsfile
Ireland’s David Meyler. Pic: Sportsfile

For a career which was almost ended by two serious knee injuries, reaching a World Cup finals would be the pinnacle for David Meyler, the Ireland international says.

Things had been going well for the Meyler clan of late, as David captained Ireland to that key World Cup win away to Wales and not long after, his dad was confirmed in the post as manager of the Cork senior hurlers.

Then Meyler got that the yellow card in Cardiff - took one for the team as Roy Keane might say - which left him suspended for the first leg of the play-off, so Meyler was a frustrated spectator in Copenhagen.

He's back from suspension and probably back in the side for tonight's second leg, and the player whose first experience of World Cups involving Ireland was as a five-year-old watching fellow Cork man Roy Keane play on the world stage at USA '94, this is a big deal.

"This is stuff you dream of as a kid and we are 90 minutes away from that. If you look back to the Serbia game at the start, this is where you wanted to be," says Meyler.

"The Euros was great and we can draw on that, but we need to go and perform now and I fully believe we'll be going to Russia.

"I've memories of '94 World Cup and running around the house at home.

"Being 90 minutes away from qualifying for the World Cup is huge. Looking back, the sacrifices I had to go through to give me this opportunity is huge. We all want to qualify. We'll do everything in our power to make sure we do."

Meyler got to see how Ireland play from the sidelines in Denmark, as opposed to his usual role in the centre of things, and he clearly likes what he sees.

Components

"I think the players have fantastic spirit. It's is important to have that," says the Hull City man.

"The side is made up of certain components and this is a very strong element of it. It shouldn't be everything in our side because eventually, as well as spirit, we need to be able to try and play as well too. I think if you've got that element, that sort of spirit can overcome a number of hurdles during the campaign.

"I'm not saying it's everything but I think it's inbred, not only in the team but also in the country," he added, unused to his sideline role.

"It's obviously a lot different if you're involved. When you're watching you're kicking every ball and are screaming. The lads did very well and we have to continue that and get to Russia."

As a Championship player, Meyler's battles with Danes of of late have come when his Hull side and the Danish-influenced Brentford clashed, so he's he's now only able to admire - or try to kick - Christian Eriksen from afar.

"He did fine," he says when asked how the Spurs playmaker did in the first game, Meyler pleased that Eriksen's run of scoring in six successive international games ended.

"Listen, they didn't score and we kept them quiet. It will have to be the same tomorrow, but it's not just Eriksen. They have a good team with a lot of players in the Champions League. We have watched them all week and are fully prepared."

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