Sheffield United and Republic of Ireland star John Egan's insightful take on France challenge
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After starting last week’s friendly against Latvia on the bench, the Sheffield United centre-half is expected to feature in the Irish’s first choice eleven for the opening match of their European Championship qualifying campaign.
Didier Deschamps’ men warmed-up for the game by thrashing Holland 4-0 at the Stade de France. But providing an insight into how professional footballers approach games such as this, Egan told The Star he is excited rather than intimidated by the challenge of trying to thwart some of the most dangerous attackers on the planet.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “We’re all looking forward to it. You want to come up against some of the very best in the game, it’s what it’s all about.”
“We’re always confident about what we can achieve,” Egan continued. “We know it’s going to be tough because we know how good they are. But we also know that we can make it tough for them too.”
With United entering the international break ranked second in the Championship table, Egan will adopt a similar attitude towards next season if Paul Heckingbottom’s team secure promotion to the Premier League.
Several of his colleagues at Bramall Lane have been in action for their respective countries since United reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup by beating Blackburn Rovers. Iliman Ndiaye scored his first goal for Senegal during their rout of Mozambique. George Baldock won his latest cap for Greece as they dispatched Gibraltar, while Tommy Doyle came on as a substitute during England under-21’s emphatic victory over France. James McAtee, also on loan from Manchester City, watched from the bench. Sander Berge started Norway’s defeat by Spain. Adam Davies was an unused substitute as Wales drew with Croatia.
"It’s a proud moment for me, whenever I represent Ireland,” Egan said. “The same I know goes for all the rest of the boys who go away at this time.”