Sunderland star O’Shea warns Irish not to focus just on Ozil

WORDS OF WARNING ... Sunderland and Republic of Ireland defender John O'Shea.
WORDS OF WARNING ... Sunderland and Republic of Ireland defender John O'Shea.

SUNDERLAND star John O’Shea has warned his Republic of Ireland team-mates they will need to stop more than just Mesut Ozil if they are to take anything from tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Germany.

Much of the debate in Ireland this week has surrounded manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s plan to deal with the mercurial Ozil, with the Italian having hinted he may consider asking one of his midfielders to take on the “impossible” task of man-marking him.

However, O’Shea, who will captain the team in the absence of the injured Robbie Keane, knows how dangerous it could be to concentrate on one man.

He said: “He is a fantastic player, but if we focus our attention too much on one of Germany’s players, they have plenty of others with the quality to punish you.

“I played against (Lukas) Podolski in the first game of the (Premier League) season, so I am well aware of his qualities.

“But if I was to go through the whole team, I would be here for quite a while talking about their quality and ability. We have to be on guard for all the German players.”

The Germans are hot favourites to maintain their 100 per cent start to the campaign – especially with Ireland in the midst of an injury crisis.

Asked if he would settle for a draw, O’Shea said: “If we are going into a home game against anybody, we are confident we can win. But they are the second-ranked team in the world and we will see how the game goes.

“Sometimes when you get a draw, you are delighted, like when you score the equaliser in the last minute. On the other hand, if you score the first goal and concede in the last minute, then you are not very happy.

“We will wait and see, but obviously we want to win and we know how tough that will be.

“To be captaining your country is special and to do it in a competitive match against Germany will be very special.

“But more importantly, we need 11 leaders on that pitch. It is a classic cliche, but for a game like this at home against Germany, we are going to need a massive effort, not just from the lads starting, but from everybody preparing to come on as well.”