John O’Shea backs former City midfielder O’Brien to deliver with the Irish U17s

John O’Shea backs former City midfielder O’Brien to deliver with the Irish U17s

Colin O’Brien, Republic of Ireland U17 manager and John O’Shea. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

FORMER Irish international John O’Shea believes Colin O’Brien is the perfect man to lead the Republic of Ireland into the forthcoming U17 European Championships.

Under the tutelage of Brian Kerr and Noel O’Reilly, Waterford native O’Shea was part of an Irish side that won the tournament in Scotland 21 years ago.

This made him an ideal candidate for the role of U17 Euro Ambassador and with O’Brien including former Cork City team-mate Kevin Doyle as part of his backroom team, he expects them to deliver strong performances on home soil.

“I know Collie from doing my ‘B’ and my ‘A’ licence. I know the type of fella he is and I think Kevin Doyle is involved now as well with that team.

“The instructions and the confidence that they’ll be feeding into the younger boys [is crucial]. It’s a different kind of pressure, in a sense, that they’ll be under,” the ex-Man United star acknowledged.

“They have the qualification sorted and obviously we have to wait and see what the draw will be. Someone like Colin, who will be desperate for the team to do well on home soil. Having that and Kevin’s input will be vital. Obviously, there are other lads involved in the coaching set-up in the background and the analysis. It’ll be a tough competition.”

With a selection of League of Ireland venues playing host to games, O’Shea — a UEFA Champions League winner with Manchester United in 2008 — has urged the Irish footballing fraternity to come out in their droves when the tournament kicks off on May 3.

“Hopefully it’s a chance for the public to support their own nation in a big tournament, but the chance to see stars of the future on their doorstep as well. Great to be asked to be an ambassador for it and I have every confidence that it’ll be a fantastic tournament,” the Reading defender added.

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