Sheffield United: 'They know their jobs and I hope they do well' - former Republic of Ireland defender hopes John Egan and Enda Stevens cope in Premier League
Gary Breen, the former Republic of Ireland centre-half, has warned Sheffield United’s Irish defenders John Egan and Enda Stevens that they face a steep learning curve as they prepare for Premier League football.
Both men, alongside international teammates David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson, will form key parts of United’s side this season in the top flight, 12 years after they were last there.
And Breen, who won over 60 caps for his country, told the Irish Independent: "Every time John has stepped up he looks comfortable. So now you're wondering can he do it again.
"The only concern is not will he have the football ability to do it, but will he be able to cope with the movement of world-class strikers. He'll have never seen that before.
"I remember Matt Doherty said after the first game of last season that it was like a whirlwind and he couldn't cope with how fast it all was.
"But look how quickly he settled. And I hope that the lads at Sheffield United do the same. Listen, they're fighting above their weight, but they'll know their jobs and I hope they do well.”
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Egan’s father, also called John, was a Gaelic football legend and Breen’s hero as a youngster.
"John's dad was my hero growing up, I looked up to that great Kerry team. That's why I'm so desperate for the Dubs not to do five in a row.
"I've seen him [Egan Jr.] play a lot. He got that broken leg initially and then he was at Gillingham, rebuilds his career, ends up in the League One team of the year and then gets the move to Brentford.
"So every time there has been a challenge laid down to him, he has been able to respond.
"Enda Stevens has some experience of the Premier League since his time with Villa and the fact that he has played so much international football should help him make the step up."