In a press conference dominated by who will be Giovanni Trapattoni’s successor, current caretaker boss Noel King looked forward to Tuesday as a potential turning point for his Irish side and a chance to wipe the slate clean.
Addressing the media ahead of Tuesday night’s last World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan King insisted it was about more than pride for the Irish players as they looked to secure a second seed spot for the European Championship qualifiers.
King – stoking the fires against the RTE panel once again – backed the team that lost in Cologne on Friday night stating that defensive football was a skill.
“I don’t understand the criticisms that have come this way about the football. Defending is a skill and that’s what we employed against Germany and we have no problems doing the same against Kazakhstan tomorrow night.”
King was keen to stress that Tuesday’s fixture meant a lot more than just personal pride and when pushed on whether it would be an embarrassment to be beaten by Kazakhstan he was keen to play that down.
“If we apply ourselves correctly and put in the effort but still lose there is no embarrassment in that. If we don’t apply ourselves to the task at hand then that is embarrassing!”
Robbie Keane backed up his manager’s sentiments and defended the under-fire Anthony Stokes after his lack-lustre performance against the Germans.
“He did all the right things on Friday, getting himself into good positions, but it just didn’t happen for him. Against the Germans you don’t get a lot of chances so you have to be sure to take them when you can.”
The conversation over who the next manager would be reared its head, and with that came the inevitable question about previous manager Mick McCarthy making a comeback, a possibility that Robbie Keane doesn’t believe to be out of the question.
“Mick is a good man and he ticks all the right boxes for what we’ve talked about so why not?”
Keane added, “Many countries have done it before where they have welcomed back managers and why should we be any different but it would be the same for Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane. I don’t know who is in the running but the managers mentioned have been names I’ve liked.”
When pressed further Keane revealed that he has ambitions of managing the national side one day but aims to keep playing for a while longer, thereby ruling himself in for the European Championship Qualifiers for 2016.