Robbie Brady is ready to put himself in the firing line as the Republic of Ireland attempt to derail Poland’s charge for the Euro 2016 finals.
The 23-year-old Hull winger could yet be asked to fill in at left-back having slotted into that position to spectacular effect in November’s 4-1 friendly victory over the USA, in which he scored twice.
Brady could be required with Stephen Ward still battling to shake off the after-effects of a broken ankle, but he insists he will be happy to be cast in the role of emergency defender if manager Martin O’Neill calls upon him.
He said: “Over the last couple of years, I have been a bit more accustomed to the role. I have played there quite a bit, so if he calls upon me on Sunday and needs me to play left-back, I’ll play left-back and I’ll give 110 per cent, and hopefully we can come away with the result we need.
“It’s definitely a change, but it’s just concentration more than anything else. It’s just work on the mind more than the body. You know how quick and how strong you are, it’s just getting your positioning right.
“The more I play there, the more comfortable I feel. I have played there quite a bit and I will be ready to play there if that’s where he needs me to play.”
Indeed, Brady views the prospect of having to adapt his game to another position as one which can only benefit his career in the longer term.
He said: “You need to learn new things if you are going to push on in the game, and hopefully that’s just another string to my bow. Hopefully I can show that in the upcoming games and many years to come.”
Brady has played only minutes of football in more than a month after damaging a calf muscle in training with his club, although he admits the prospect of pulling on the green shirt against the Poles was a major motivation in his quicker-than-expected recovery.
He said: “When it happened, one of the first things that popped into my head was this game. I was looking forward to getting ready for it and that just put a bit of a bump in the road.
“But I feel great, I have done everything I needed to do and I have got back for a game that I really wanted to be playing in.
“It felt quite bad at the time, so I knew I’d done something that was going to put me out of playing. I’d just had a good run of games up to it, so it was just disappointing.
“When I went in, I had to wait for two days for the blood to settle down and then go and get my scan, and I think they said four to six weeks and I got back in just under three, so that was good.”