“Shane was in the Cork City first team when I was young, maybe U16s. Even then, you could tell there was something about him,” he said.
“Shane and Kevin Doyle left [for Reading] and everyone would look to them thinking that’s what they wanted to do. Fortunately enough, I was the next in line.
“Shane’s thrived ever since he came to England and I’m sure he can kick on again here. He’s a fantastic lad. Great around the training ground and great with everyone. I suppose he’s a typical Irishman, gets on with everyone. You don’t get any bother from us and we look after one another.”
Another Irish player in the news is former international Stephen McPhail who, it has been confirmed, has signed a one-year deal with Shamrock Rovers.
McPhail’s contract with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday comes to an end this month, allowing him to put pen to paper on a deal with Rovers. The 34-year-old midfielder, who has also played for Leeds United, Barnsley and Cardiff City, will officially leave Wednesday on February 18 and link up with Rovers.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland remain at 67th position in the latest Fifa world rankings. The top three in the world, in descending order, are Spain, Germany and Argentina, with World Cup hosts Brazil in ninth and England falling two places to 15th.
Despite reports suggesting that Ireland will play Portugal in New York on June 10, there is still no confirmation that Martin O’Neill’s team will play a match in the United States before the World Cup this summer.