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'The last time I played there I was about 14'

Ireland’s Cyrus Christie was unexpectedly put in an unfamiliar central midfield role against Denmark last night.

AHEAD OF IRELAND’S crunch Nations League clash against Denmark last night, Martin O’Neill made the surprising call to pick Cyrus Christie in midfield.

The 26-year-old predominantly plays as a right-sided defender/wing-back, but switched from his usual role in order to accommodate in-form Wolves star Matt Doherty, who made his competitive debut in the Nations League clash.

“I was playing in an unfamiliar position,” Christie told Virgin Media Sport after the 0-0 stalemate.

“The last time I played there I was about 14 or something like that in the academy. The manager just wanted me to go out and do a job. Try and get on the ball and drive with it and help out with [Pione Sisto].

I want to go out there, put a shift in and work hard. I was unlucky not to get a goal, it was a good shot, and we defended well, kept our shape, and it’s a different outcome compared to the last time we played them. It’s a positive [step] in the right direction.”

Christie was named man of the match for his performance, and Martin O’Neill afterwards praised the player.

Ireland were always going to be second best when it came to possession against the technically superior Danes, and so playing someone with Christie’s natural athleticism to chase and harry their opponents had a certain logic to it.

“He’s athletic, strong and even though he doesn’t always play at Fulham, he keeps himself in really good condition. He has personal trainers, personal coaches, he loves football,” the Irish boss added.

Christie also responded to recent comments by BBC pundit Alan Shearer, after the player was singled out on criticism on Match of the Day, following Fulham’s 5-1 loss at home to Arsenal.

“We lost 5-1, someone has to take the blame. I done alright at times but Shearer is going to have his opinion,” he said.

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Paul Fennessy

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