Doherty | 'Ireland have top games to look forward to'

Matt Doherty is looking forward to working with John O’Shea at international level, with the Republic of Ireland back in action this weekend.

The former Manchester United defender, who was capped 118 times by Ireland, is leading his nation on an interim basis while they search for a permanent head coach and he named Wolves’ Doherty in his squad for the March internationals. Ireland face Belgium on Saturday evening, before hosting Switzerland on Tuesday, and Doherty backs O’Shea to have a positive influence on the group, before they turn their attentions to the Nations League later in the year.

On John O’Shea taking over

“He was there when Stephen [Kenny] was there, as one of the coaches, so he trusts us, and we obviously trust him. It’s going to be a very good appointment and a good opportunity for him.

“I was on the bench for his last game [for Ireland] and I was probably in a few squads and training camps. We have a quite good relationship, so it’ll be fun.”

On what he’s like to work with

“He did a lot of set pieces and now he’s going to have more of a coaching role, and he’ll be able to show us what he’s capable of. It’s a huge opportunity for him to manage a national team after the career he’s had. I’m sure he’s raring to go and I think it’s going to be good for us.”

On looking ahead to the Nations League

“It’s a good group, some big games. At international level, especially with Ireland, we seem to bring out our best and perform at the highest level we have when we play against top nations, so it’s another challenge for us. In March we have Belgium and Switzerland, more top games, and more top players to challenge yourself against.”

On giving back to the Irish supporters

“Irish supporters support you home and away, through thick and thin, spend a lot of money following the national team around the world, Azerbaijan, Georgia, wherever, there’s always a lot of fans travelling.

“We couldn’t qualify for anything and played Gibraltar away and there was thousands of fans. We owe the fans something to cheer about and hopefully that will be this year.”