A rejuvenated Danny Mandroiu. Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Growing Up

'Sit on the bench for six months at Bohs and you could lose your head. I want it even more now'

Danny Mandroiu aiming to deliver when it matters most for Shamrock Rovers in Europe after a turbulent end to his time at Dalymount Park.

DANNY MANDROIU can deliver a range of one-liners like a killer pass or precision finish.

On his close friend Liam Scales’ impending transfer to Celtic. “I’m going to miss him but then again I’m not going to miss him, he’s always hanging out of me.”

On some of his former youth teammates’ reaction to seeing him in the senior Republic of Ireland squad during the summer training camp. “It was ‘you’re still here, yeah?’”

And on a renewed sense of purpose, as well as enjoyment, since leaving Bohemians for Shamrock Rovers ahead of this season. “I am smiling more. Got these teeth done as well.”

They are as pristine as the playmaker’s technique.

liam-scales-and-daniel-mandroiu-before-the-game Mandroiu with teammate and friend Liam Scales (left)/ Tommy Dickson / INPHO Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

And when it comes to expanding on a turbulent end to a largely successful spell at Dalymount Park, Mandroiu, who turns 23 in October, obliges. It was a messy divorce.

Keith Long had helped resurrect his career in 2019 after his contract was ended at Brighton by mutual consent.

Mandroiu won the PFA Ireland young player of the year award at the end of his debut season in the Premier Division and came back into focus on the international stage with regular call-ups to the Under-21s.

The second was not so inspiring, with suggestions of a lack of focus and professionalism blighting 2020. Bohs even had to apologise for listing Mandroiu as “gargled” in a team news press release ahead of a game that August.

The writing was on the wall.

“I’ve definitely matured a lot,” he insists. “When you’re sitting on the bench for six months at Bohs you can either lose the head or you want it even more. I want it even more.

I knew what I wanted [in the game] but when you know you’re on the bench for six months straight, it’s not a nice feeling. You never want to be back there again. I didn’t know I was coming here until sitting on the bench at Bohs.

“It is the first time it ever happened to me so it took a lot from me. I’ve got a big character so yeah, it took a lot out of me mentally but I am here now, I am playing and I am happy.

“When the gaffer rang me I knew I wanted to come here. It is a massive, massive club and you win trophies here. So, that is all I want.

“I never doubted myself. I have good people around me as well who don’t let me doubt myself. I’ve got a good family and friends behind me.

“I just needed to mature a bit. I know what I am capable of. It was just the maturity thing, when you mature a lot you mature on the pitch as well. That’s all.

jayson-molumby-and-daniel-mandroiu Mandroiu (right) on Ireland duty with former Brighton teammate Jayson Molumby. Bagu Blanco / INPHO Bagu Blanco / INPHO / INPHO

“Last year when I was on the bench, I wasn’t really motivated but I knew I needed a new challenge. I am very motivated now. You are going to get these challenges in life.”

They have continued this season with Rovers, where he admits he has sought to

“Just maybe the perception people had of me. People who know me know that perception of me isn’t true. Maturing off the pitch, I just grew up a bit. I was a bit childish here and there, but I have grown up a lot.

Maturing on the pitch, I just deal with things that come my way. I would normally snap. Temperament, you could say that. Don’t get me wrong, I am not crazy but I just matured a little bit.

“You need to if you want to go to the next level and I want to go to the next level. I know if I was the way I was I am not going to go there.”

Tonight could offer a glimpse of what he can offer when the stakes are high. Rovers must overcome a two-goal deficit in their Europa Conference League play-off with Flora Tallinn if they are to reach the group stages.

Mandroiu watched from the bench for 68 minutes in Estonia and almost made an instant impact with a show that struck the post.

“To be part of winning would be absolutely amazing, it’s such a huge game for us all, the club, the staff, we all know that. I love playing in big games. I believe we can do it, the lads believe we can do it.”

Stephen Kenny names his Ireland squad for the three upcoming World Cup qualifiers not long before kick-off in Tallaght and Mandroiu’s thinking is simple. “If I’m in it, I’m in it. If not I’ll work hard.”

And keep smiling

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel