Republic of Ireland skipper John O’Shea has tipped young winger Robbie Brady to make the grade at Manchester United.
The 20-year-old, currently in his second loan spell at npower Championship Hull under former United defender Steve Bruce, will start tomorrow night’s friendly against Greece at the Aviva Stadium after manager Giovanni Trapattoni handed he and fellow wide man James McClean a chance to make a name for themselves.
Brady, who made his first competitive start for his country in last month’s 4-1 World up qualifier victory over the Faroe Islands, has already made an impact on the international stage and O’Shea, who knows exactly what it takes to succeed at Old Trafford, is confident he has what it will take to do just that.
“He definitely does, but he also needs to get the run of games into him to show when he goes to Hull that he is more than capable of playing at that level and showing his talent, as he did last season,” he said.
“He got a few more chances then when he went back in, in pre-season and a couple of the League Cup matches.
“It’s one of those things. Look, Robbie is a very intelligent lad, he is under no illusions that he is facing a very difficult task.
“But he has got a lot of ability and he has got the talent to back it up, so if he did get a chance to get a run in the Manchester United team, I am sure he would take it with both hands.
“But as I said, he’s got a lot of competition.”
Brady shone in the September friendly victory over Oman as he announced himself in style, and O’Shea knows tomorrow night’s game is an opportunity for the youngster to grow in confidence.
He said: “It definitely helps you. He has got a fantastic left foot and he is very creative. He will get the chance tomorrow to show that, hopefully, and take another step forward.”
A few weeks short of a year ago, McClean embarked upon a similar journey when he was thrust into the limelight by new Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill, and he made such an impact that he forced his way into Trapattoni’s squad for the Euro 2012 finals.
However, the 23-year-old has found the going a little tougher this time around with the Black Cats struggling as a team, although club-mate O’Shea has no doubt he will bounce back.
He said: “Look, he’s come on in leaps and bounds. He was the surprise factor last season. He came in when the manager took over, he got into the team and took everything right in his stride.
“You are obviously more aware of a talent like that and now teams are marking him more tightly, they are doubling up on him.
“The manager left him out for a few games there as well because of the quality of the squad we have.
“It’s up to us to get the ball to James in better positions, get it to him quicker. It’s up to us to make sure we are giving the ball to him in better situations where he can show the talent that he undoubtedly has.
“Any time any young player plays for their country, it’s going to give him a fantastic boost, and I am sure knowing the type of character James is, he will take it all in his stride.”
Tomorrow night’s game will bring back memories for O’Shea – he made his first senior start for Ireland against Greece a decade ago – but is also the first fixture back at the Aviva since the 6-1 drubbing by Germany last month.
Asked what will be expected by the fans, the Sunderland defender said: “The game directly after Germany was the Faroes, which was a qualification game.
“I think the fans, more importantly, wanted to see a reaction in that game, and we gave a reaction with a comfortable victory in a game we should have won, and we did win convincingly.
“It’s the final game of 2012, it’s a game at home and whether it’s against Greece, Brazil or the Faroe Islands, you want to win the game, and that’s what we want to do tomorrow night, not only for the fans, but for ourselves and for the management and everyone involved with Ireland.”
O’Shea will be partnered in central defence by Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark, while Shane Long and Simon Cox will start up front with Robbie Keane rested and Jon Walters injured.