Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has confirmed at his pre-match press conference that Everton fullback Séamus Coleman will captain the side on Saturday as Ireland begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign on the artificial surface of the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar.
The 30-year-old Donegal-born player, who will make his 50th Ireland appearance tomorrow, eight years after making his international debut against Wales, is proud of hitting a half century of international caps:
“Like at club level, you get your first game and then you just want to play your second, you don’t think much beyond that. I’m really proud to get my 50th game but it’s no different, they all feel the same to me really.”
Ireland boss McCarthy admitted to feeling a little nervous ahead of the beginning of his side’s qualifying campaign, saying:
“The butterflies are there already. It’s getting closer and closer. I’m glad I have that feeling because if I lose that then there would be something wrong. That has been with me from the first game I ever played.”
Despite the severe weather which has been forecast for Gibraltar tomorrow evening, McCarthy is not concerned by the prospect, stating:
“We don’t play in ideal conditions all the time in terms of weather, bearing in mind that I started at Barnsley and been at Sunderland and been to Glasgow. That’s nothing that concerns me, I can’t do anything about that. It is what it is. We’ll just get on with it.”
The Republic of Ireland played Gibraltar in the 2016 UEFA European Championships qualifying campaign, initially winning 7-0 in Dublin with Robbie Keane scoring a hat-trick, James McClean providing 2 goals, Wes Hoolahan one, and Perez also scoring an own-goal. In the away leg in September 2015 Ireland won 4-0, thanks to goals from Cyrus Christie, Shane Long and two from Robbie Keane.