Big night ahead for Black Cats ace.
By Colin Young
Sunderland midfielder David Meyler makes his long-awaited senior debut for the Republic of Ireland tonight.
The former Cork City ace has battled back from two career-threatening knee injuries to get the call-up from Ireland’s well-respected Italian boss Giovanni Trapattoni.
Meyler will play in central midfield alongside Wigan’s James McCarthy in the Irish team’s friendly against Oman at Craven Cottage tonight.
David and I have never actually played against each other or met each other over but I knew him to say hello to and it’s nice to see another Cork City and ex- League of Ireland lad in the squad. He has been impressive in training and doesn’t look out of place
- Kevin Doyle on David Meyler
And legendary former Italy and Juventus boss Trapattoni is looking forward to seeing the debut of a player who has been on the Irish scout’s radar for some times.
`Il Trap’ said: “Meyler has a good personality and a good technique in midfield. He plays directly the ball, has good geometry, on the left, and the right.
“He is also physically good, he is a little bit tall and we have followed him since two years ago when we called him up.
“In this position we have always had Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews, and we have tried also James McCarthy. We couldn’t give many, many in the same position but he deserves his chance.”
Meyler settled into the Ireland squad in Dublin last week before their last-gasp win in Kazakhstan when, like his team-mate James McClean, he was left on the bench throughout the 2-1 win.
Unlike McClean, Meyler does start tonight and stand-in Ireland captain Kevin Doyle is looking forward to seeing how a player for his former side settles into the big green shirt at Fulham tonight.
Doyle said: “David and I have never actually played against each other or met each other over but I knew him to say hello to and it’s nice to see another Cork City and ex- League of Ireland lad in the squad. He has been impressive in training and doesn’t look out of place.
“I think knowing the Sunderland lads made it easy to settle in and I hope he does well.
“We were talking yesterday and he was telling me about his two cruciates in the same knee. Touch wood I have never had a serious injury, but I can’t imagine coming back and the mental battles you go through.
“To get back two years after he was last selected for Ireland shows what he is about really and apart from his football skills, it shows that he will have no problem dealing with whatever comes his way with the Ireland team.”
Ireland team to face Oman: David Forde (Millwall); Seamus Coleman (Everton), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Paul McShane (Hull City), Marc Wilson (Stoke City); Robbie Brady (Manchester United), David Meyler (Sunderland), James McCarthy (Wigan), Andy Keogh (Millwall), Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion).