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Harry Arter admits finding it difficult to get to grips with international football

The Bournemouth midfielder didn’t play anywhere near his best in Saturday’s draw with Georgia.

Arter tussles with Georgia's Jambul Jighauri.
Arter tussles with Georgia's Jambul Jighauri.
Image: Shakh Aivazov

IT’S FAIR TO say Harry Arter had a game to forget in Tbilisi last night, but you could say the same about the entire Ireland team.

The 1-1 draw away to Georgia was arguably the poorest performance produced during the Martin O’Neill era. Largely bereft of cohesion or invention for long periods, they sat back after Shane Duffy’s early goal — allowing their opponents to rack up a whopping 74% possession.

Particularly during the first half, Ireland opted for long balls all too often and on the rare occasions midfielder Arter, Glenn Whelan and Robbie Brady did get involved, the ball was given away far too cheaply.

The 27-year-old, who has been one of Bournemouth’s key players in the Premier League, failed to impose himself on the game before being replaced by Aiden McGeady just after the hour mark.

“International football is a different sort of game and not having the ball isn’t overly what I’m used to but it’s something I need to get used to now,” Arter admitted after the result.

It was a different environment and one that I’ve got to try get to grips with better than I did tonight,” he added.

“There’s work to do off the ball, which is a lot harder and more demanding.”

Group D’s top two meet at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday and Ireland will be looking to make amends with a home win after dropping two points in Tbilisi.

“Regardless of the result tonight, that game was always going to be critical,” Arter said. “They won tonight so the pressure is on us but it probably would have been the same — we have to try get a result against them.”

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Ben Blake

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