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'It’s not going to be easy but we’ll give it our best shot' - McCarthy looks ahead to Georgia clash

The Everton star believes Ireland can’t afford to underestimate their opponents on Sunday.

McCarthy missed the mid-week clash with Oman through injury.
McCarthy missed the mid-week clash with Oman through injury.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

JAMES MCCARTHY HAS warned the Irish players against complacency ahead of the side’s opening European Championship qualifier against Georgia this Sunday.

Temuri Ketsbaia’s team are currently ranked 95th in the world — 29 places below Martin O’Neill’s men — nonetheless the Everton star has emphasised the problems their opponents will likely pose amid what is expected to be a hostile atmosphere in Tbilisi.

“It’s not going to be easy but we’ll give it our best shot,” he says. “It’s a massive test for everyone. It’s new management, a new competition, it’s a long way and a tricky game.”

A niggling injury meant McCarthy’s training has been limited while he also missed Wednesday’s game with Oman, but the star has been impressed with what he’s seen from the sidelines.

“Since day one I’ve come in, obviously I haven’t trained with all the boys, but I’ve been watching and everyone is really committed. I’m really looking forward to this qualifier, it was good to get the Oman game under our belts. It’s the start of a new campaign and one that we’re looking forward to.”

The 23-year-old also suggests that Ireland are in “a real group that people can take points off each other” and says attacking set pieces are likely to prove vital if they are to progress.

“It’s a big factor, set pieces. But the main thing is getting three points out there. We got a good win [against Oman]. We moved the ball really well and we want to push on as a group now. It’s a new start for everyone involved and one that we’re really excited about.”

McCarthy is, of course, part of a sizeable Irish contingent at Everton, and the ex-Wigan star is full of praise for his teammates at club level.

“With Aiden [McGeady] back in the team he has shown what quality he brings. Right from the off, he has been playing and Seamie [Coleman] is brilliant to work with on a daily basis. He has carried on his form from last season into this season and it’s brilliant to see.”

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