Meyler: I’ve watched Denmark game about 20 times

The interview at the FAI training centre is almost over and David Meyler is already getting to his feet when someone remembers to mention the war.

Or, as the unmentionable is better known in these parts: Ireland 1 Denmark 5.

Meyler grimaces when he’s asked if the hurt has faded or is perhaps only intensifying again, with the World Cup in Russia now so close at hand.

“It’s very hard to accept,” he says, shaking his head. “After Wales and Denmark away, it just wasn’t our night. On another day, we could have done it. It does hurt, it does hurt, yeah. 

"Because I still think we should be going to the World Cup. I’ll watch it and be sitting there thinking we should be there. It’s frustrating and it’s disappointing. It is what it is. It’s hard.”

And, then, almost as a postscript he adds: “I’ve watched the game about 20 times.”

Doing his coaching badges means Meyler finds himself forensically examining a lot of football matches these days but, really, revisiting the scene of the Danish crime that many times sounds like nothing short of self-torture.

”You have to learn,” is his response. “You have to take the good with the bad. There are going to be games when I won’t play well and you have to accept the criticism. 

"There are going to be games when I play well and you take the praise. So you have to take both, look back and see what I can improve on.

“Even the France game the other night, what did I play? Thirty minutes? My dad (Cork hurling manager, John) sent a big email through of about a hundred different things I did in the game. Dad, I only played a half an hour!”

Well, he could always send one back. “Stick the ball over the bar!” he chuckles.

The theme of can-do-better is also very much in the midfielder’s mind for a different reason, as he contemplates a future away from Hull City.

He has an “inkling” of where he might be bound with, he says, ambition the key.

“I think whether it be Premier League, Championship or whatever, I want to win something, I want to achieve something in my career,” he says. 

“Look, I’ve highlighted my time at Hull and what I’ve achieved: I was part of the most successful period of history in Hull Football Club and I want to go on and do something like that again. 

"I want to be successful so the first thing I’m looking for is ambition.”

The manner of his departure from the club he joined from Sunderland in January 2013 was, he says, disappointing.

“When it came time to discuss my contract extension, the club chose not to give me the contract that I was on,” he said. 

“They wanted to negotiate a new contract. The manner in which it was dealt with was disappointing. I felt that with my service there, the time and what I had achieved there, I felt the club talked about respect but I thought I probably wasn’t shown the respect I deserved.

“My time was done. I’ve been there a long time, played just under 200 games and achieved a lot. I think I need a fresh challenge. It’s disappointing that every year the club has been stripped. The turnover of players is too much. 

"I think in the six years I’ve been there something like 70 players have come and gone from the time I’ve signed. There’s no stability.

You can kind of look at it like a tree or something. I don’t know where the analogy came from, it’s one of my pals said it to me, but you need a good core. If you keep chopping away at it, it’s going to fall apart. You need good roots.

“Every team I’ve played in has had more or less a British and Irish core who were the head fellas in the changing room. I think that’s really important. 

"Every year there’s just been players peeled away and you’ve got to get going again. And I think that’s why the season last year with Hull was like it was.”

There is also, of course, the international dimension for the Corkman to consider as he plots his next move, having turned 29 on Tuesday.

“I’ve said it 150 times, playing for Ireland is the biggest point in my career and should be in any lad’s career. You look at someone like John (O’Shea) and what he’s achieved with Ireland — 118 caps on Saturday. 

"It’s remarkable. You’re playing for the whole of Ireland, it’s something special and it’s something I want to be part of for as long as I can. 

"I love meeting up with the lads, seeing the staff, the kit men, the physios — I just love everything about playing for Ireland.”

But there’s more than sentimentality to his view of the significance of tomorrow’s game against the USA.

“First and foremost, yes, it is John’s farewell,” he acknowledges. “But for me and I know the way the manager thinks: We win the game, then (it’s) the performance and then ‘thanks for everything John’. 

"And John would be the same. We’re not coming to clap and wave. We’re preparing for September primarily. That’s what this and France has been about. 

"We need to win. If we do that, it puts us all in good form and John gets the send-off he deserves.”


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