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European Qualifiers Group D

O'Shea backs Sammon to shine

John O'Shea is backing debutant Conor Sammon to give the Republic of Ireland the aerial threat they have been missing since the glory days of Tony Cascarino and Niall Quinn.

Last Updated: 05/02/13 at 18:39 Post Comment

Conor Sammon: Set to make his debut for Republic of Ireland

Conor Sammon: Set to make his debut for Republic of Ireland

The Derby striker will make his senior international debut alongside West Brom's Shane Long in Wednesday night's friendly against Poland at the Aviva Stadium.

And captain O'Shea feels that Sammon's height will give the Irish an added dimension they have not had since the days of Quinn and, before him, Cascarino.

He said: "Strength-wise, Kevin (Doyle) and Jon (Walters) are fantastic, but height-wise Conor would have that advantage - and I'd think he would probably be a little bit more nimble than two fantastic players in Cascarino and Quinn.

"I have played against Conor once or twice, and he's going to offer us a good physical presence up front and a threat in behind as well.

"He's a big man who is quite agile and can get about pitch quite well.

"The Polish defence, especially with Shane and Conor starting up front, hopefully will have a very tough start to the game because from what they have shown in training, they won't let their defenders rest on the ball, with the massive pressure they put on the defenders."

Speaking at the same press conference as O'Shea, Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni took the opportunity to hit backs at claims by Reading full-back Ian Harte, who has not played for his country since 2007, that the Italian did not even know he was Irish.

Harte had tweeted: "To all the people asking if I have retired from international football.no I haven't trap didn't even know I was Irish #whataclown."

But Trapattoni's response was brief and straight to the point.

He said: "I know him, I have seen many games. Two years ago, I said he was too old."

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