Next Generation: Anthony Breslin

Irish defender aiming for contract

Anthony Breslin is as 'Keane' as anything to try and win a new contract at Wolves – having benefited from a coaching session with the legendary Republic of Ireland midfielder.

Breslin was with the Republic of Ireland Under-19s squad for a series of internationals towards the end of last year, where he was also joined by Wolves team-mate Connor Ronan.

Breslin, has also represented the Republic of Ireland at Under 16 and Under-17 levels, played in two friendly matches for the U19’s against Ukraine in October, and was in the squad for the UEFA Under 19 Championship qualifiers against Latvia, Scotland and Slovenia.

Ireland failed to qualify for the Championship, but Breslin still thinks that Irish football has a bright future.

He said: “As a team we are good going forward but we just underperformed in the tournament.

“We could kick on as we have a lot of good players coming out of Ireland at the minute, and a lot of them are playing for English clubs.

“So we have some good lads coming through.”

One of those youngsters was Wolves team mate Ronan, and Breslin was happy to act as a mentor during the qualifiers.

He said: “It was Connor’s first time coming away with us, as he’s a year younger.

“It was good for him to be involved as he learned a lot and it will help him for next year as he’ll know how hard it will be.”

There was also the chance to work with the senior team’s assistant manager Roy Keane, who took a training session with the squad before they played a friendly match with Everton.

And that was an experience that Breslin will remember for a long time.

Recalling the session he says: “He took the session and it was good.

“At the start everyone was really nervous and when he was talking we were all a bit hesitant.

“But he made everyone feel comfortable and when he spoke to us he was really helpful.”

Along with learning from a Manchester United and Ireland legend, Breslin is aiming to continue to  develop as a player by playing Under 21 games and training with the first team.

He said: “Training with them is good for me as it teaches me the level that I have to get to.

“When you train with them and play in small sided games they communicate a lot to you.

“They talk to you about your positioning and I’ve learned a lot from them.”

Although not in the squad for Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Under-21 table-toppers Derby County, Breslin was an unused substitute in the previous fixture, the goalless draw at Brighton.

In many ways that game with the Seagulls was in keeping with the season so far for the Under 21’s, another good performance that didn’t yield a victory.

But the result did end Wolves’ run of four straight defeats in the Barclays Under 21 Premier League and Breslin believes that despite not winning the game, there were positives to come from it.

He said: “It’s always a positive keeping a clean sheet, that is the job of the defenders.

“In the first half we weren’t great, we were too deep and let them come on to us.

“But second half we really stepped up and were the better team and should’ve got the result.”

An unused substitute on Monday, Breslin is keen to get to get back in the starting XI as he bids to extend his stay with the club.

The Irishman is out of contract at the end of the season, and he’s confident of securing a new deal.

“From a personal point of view, I’ve not played as much for the Under 21’s because of the first team lads dropping down,” he explains.

“But when I have played, I’ve done quite well and I’ve been happy with my performances.

“Hopefully I’ll get a new contract, kick on with that and then maybe get a loan deal somewhere and play men’s football.”

Breslin is in his third year with the club after joining the club’s academy from St Kevin’s Boys Club in his native Ireland.

However, the move to Wolves almost didn’t happen, as Breslin was also a highly rated Gaelic Footballer, and faced a big decision as to which sport he had to choose.

“It really was a big decision as I loved playing Gaelic when I was younger,” he says.

“We had a good team and it’s a great sport.

“It’s a lot different to football and it makes you tougher.

“I played left half back, it’s similar to left back as you can defend and also get forward.

“Every Irish kid plays both Gaelic football and football, but it comes to a point when you have to let one take over and take it a lot more seriously.”

Just as you would a training session with Roy Keane!