Tough-tackling midfielder Lee Carsley joins the Paddy Power Blog to get stuck in to Ireland’s chances at Euro 2012. The former Everton and Birmingham City star also gives us his thoughts on Roy Keane’s infamous walk-out at Saipan before the 2002 World Cup.
“Roy Keane was a player who would have been fantastic in the World Cup and he was looking forward to it as much as anyone. He more or less got us there single-handedly himself anyway,” says Carsley.
“He was far from selfish, he was the complete opposite. He was a pure team player and an inspirational captain. If anything, he cost himself as opposed to the team.
“I was gutted, I got on alright with Roy. I enjoyed training with him and playing with him because he was that good a player. He was the kind of player I wanted to be like and emulate.
“I loved watching him, the way he played and conducted himself in terms of his preparation was something to be admired.”
Going in to Euro 2012 in good form
“You have to pick the tactics to suit the players. Everyone wants to watch Barcelona and Spain and teams that are attacking but if you haven’t got the players, you can’t do that – you have to find another way,” says Carsley who won 39 caps for Ireland between 1997 and 2006.
“That’s where Trapattoni’s strengths are. He’s realised we aren’t blessed with that many attacking players and the ones we have got we try to get them on the ball as much as we can.
“We have not played in many high-scoring games. We do a lot of counter attacking, a lot of defending and lots of organisation, then winning by the odd goal.
“The side needs to stick together, needs to be organised, and believe in one another. They’re going into the competition in good form. If you go through the individuals we have a good, solid team,” says Carsley.
The first game is crucial
“If you look at the group, we have to win one game and, to be honest, we need to beat Croatia as we’re more likely to beat them than Italy or Spain,” says Carsley.
“It’s imperative not to lose the first game because we’re going in to the competition high on confidence, but I don’t think this is the kind of team that can go and win games.
“My worry is if we get off to a bad start we’re not the kind of team that can say ‘we need to win today’ and then go and win.
“Changing the mentality and the philosophy from an organised, defensive counter-attacking team to a ‘we need to win today’ team is a difficult mentality to change and then the more you attack the more vulnerable you are,” says Carsley.
- Listen to the full Lee Carsley interview on the Padcast
- Ireland vs Croatia betting
- Euro 2012 betting