Ireland must pay close attention to 'exceptional' Ibrahimovic - O'Neill

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The Boys in Green manager is wary of the threat posed by Sweden's captain ahead of his side's Euro 2016 opening game

Martin O'Neill says that the Republic of Ireland will have to pay close attention to "exceptional talent" Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the Boys in Green face Sweden in their Euro 2016 opener.

Ireland take on Sweden at the Stade de France in Paris on June 13. Erik Hamren's side head into the clash after soundly beating Wales 3-0 in Solna on Monday and O’Neill is wary of the threat that they, and Ibrahimovic, present. 

The former Celtic boss acknowledged the ability of the former Barcelona and AC Milan star, but says that he is "not so sure" about the idea of man-marking the 34-year-old striker.

"[It was] very strong," O’Neill replied when asked what he thought of the performance of Erik Hamren's side against the Welsh. 

"[They are a] good side, it will be a difficult game for us but we just have to be ready for it now next Monday. 

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"Naturally we will have to be very concerned about Ibrahimovic. He’s a top class player, one of the best in Europe and just an exceptional talent.

"We will have to be carefully matched, we will have to watch him and try match up against him but I’m not so sure about someone man marking him." 

Ireland play Sweden on June 13 before taking on Belgium on June 18 and concluding their Group E fixtures against Italy on June 22.

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