James McClean is banking on the Republic of Ireland’s big-game mentality to drive them again into Euro 2024 rivalry.
Ireland belatedly registered their first win of the qualifying marketing campaign on the third time of asking once they beat Gibraltar 3-0 in Dublin on Monday night.
Coming after a hard-fought 1-0 residence defeat by France and a less-impressive show in a 2-1 reverse by the hands of Greece in Athens on Friday night time, victory was the very least they wanted forward of September’s journey to Paris and the Netherlands’ go to to the Aviva Stadium three days later.
Asked concerning the Dutch specifically, McClean, who received his one hundredth senior cap towards Gibraltar, mentioned: “I don’t want to create headlines and be disrespectful, but they seem to have a lot of very good individual players, but maybe as a team they are not where they want to be and hopefully we can exploit that.
“I actually think we perform better in the big games, as you have seen here against France.”
Realistically, Ireland might want to get the higher of the Netherlands over the 2 fixtures if they’re to face any likelihood of escaping from Group B, and the percentages stay closely stacked towards them regardless of Monday’s win.
They went into that recreation having been roundly criticised for his or her efficiency in Athens and with supervisor Stephen Kenny feeling the complete drive of a concerted backlash.
McClean, who offered assists for each Evan Ferguson and Adam Idah, mentioned: “Nobody likes being criticised, that’s the way it is. No one likes it, but we’re not stupid. This is the game we are in.
“If you don’t perform and do well, criticism comes along with that, as does praise when you are doing well, so you have to take the bad with the good.
“We bounced back. It’s a massive win to take us into September and hopefully we can pull off one of those famous wins.”
Ireland boast well-known wins over then world champions Germany and at Euro 2016, fellow aristocrats Italy within the latest previous, however underneath Kenny have fallen heart-breakingly brief, if solely simply, towards Portugal and France.
However, McClean, 34, is assured the idea and spirit which contributed a lot to these landmark victories has been retained by a new-look squad.
He mentioned: “I don’t think that’s something that can ever be questioned, the togetherness in the Irish team.
“There is a lot of ability in those young lads. If you can get them playing with confidence, you are on to a winner. Hopefully they can create special memories for themselves.”
McClean added his personal particular reminiscence on Monday when he accomplished his century and was offered along with his one hundredth cap by President Michael D Higgins earlier than kick-off.
He mentioned: “Having my family on the pitch, the president of the association and of the country handing me an honour, the reception of the crowd, having the whole family there, the way the lads treated me this week leading up to it and how they treated me after the game… Look, it couldn’t have gone any better.”