Express & Star

Former West Brom skipper Dara O'Shea eyeing 'something special' with Republic of Ireland

Dara O’Shea is hoping to put a tough period with Burnley firmly behind him as the Republic of Ireland target achieving “something special” in their final Euro 2024 qualifier against the Netherlands.

O'Shea has endured a tough time since joining Burnley in the summer

O’Shea joined the Clarets from Albion in the summer as manager Vincent Kompany looked to bolster his squad for life back in the Premier League.

Since the last international break, O’Shea has been a regular in the Burnley side, starting each of the last five games through all competitions.

O’Shea intends to make the most of the opportunities ahead, admitting it had not been an easy spell when watching from the sidelines.

“It was a tough period and it is not easy,” O’Shea said. “When you are injured you can kind of accept it as you can’t possibly play, but when you are fit and ready and trying to do everything on the training pitch and you don’t get selected, it is a tough one to take.

“Seeing the boys go out there and you have worked hard all week to try and get into that position, it is hard, but it pushes you on. There will always be that opportunity again, you have to be there to take it.”

O’Shea revealed Kompany had not given him any indication why he was not in the squad, but intends to show the manager why he deserves to keep his place as Burnley look to fight their way off the foot of the table.

“There wasn’t much words said to me, to be honest. I don’t know why that was. I think that’s just the way he (Kompany) handles things,” the defender told a press conference.

“I had to get my head around that and work hard, put myself back in the frame, which I have done, playing consistently for the last few games and I am really enjoying it.”

Barring an extremely unlikely sequence of events, which would rely on other results and UEFA’s complex Nations League rankings, Ireland will not qualify for Euro 2024.

Stephen Kenny’s men, though, will be aiming to finish what has been a disappointing Group B campaign with a positive result against the Dutch in Amsterdam on Saturday.

Ireland then face New Zealand in a friendly in Dublin, after which Kenny’s current contract expires.

O’Shea maintains Ireland have their sights firmly set on causing an upset against the Netherlands, who are currently in the second automatic qualification spot in front of Greece on head-to-head record.

“We know that we cannot qualify, but it is an international game, a competitive game against a great side away and we know we want to do something special as a group,” O’Shea said.

“If that’s all we can do right now, that’s what we want to do – to beat the Netherlands away.

“For ourselves we have ambitions and aims to do well for the country, but also for him (Kenny) – the group loves him. I think we really deserve something like that and he does as well.

O’Shea added: “I think we can (win), there is no reason why we can’t.

“That’s our identity and it has been throughout this campaign – it doesn’t matter if you are home or away, you have to try and make an impact, silence the crowd and that is a great way to do it.”

Brighton striker Evan Ferguson is among a number of players who are injury doubts.

Blackburn midfielder Andrew Moran, on loan from the Seagulls, could be in line for his senior debut after being drafted in from the under-21s.