Ten years without tournament football means that the squad are short on experience when it comes to prolonged periods together; Houghton thinks the Boys in Green can deal with itEXCLUSIVE
By Micil Glennon
Republic of Ireland legend Ray Houghton is confident that Giovanni Trapattoni’s 23-man squad for Euro 2012 will be able to deal with the pressure of being ‘in camp’ for a prolonged period, despite the fact that only four members have played in a major finals.
Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane, Shay Given and Damien Duff are the only players in the squad who have gone to a major tournament before, the 2002 World Cup, but Houghton says that the squad will be ready for the experience.
Speaking to Goal.com Ireland, Houghton said: “What I’ve seen of the lads, and I’ve been on airplanes with them coming back from matches, they seem like a tight bunch, they seem to enjoy each other’s company, that’s important.”
The former Liverpool midfielder played in Euro 88 and in the World Cups of 1990 and 1994 for the Boys in Green and says that times have changed since his playing days when it comes to looking after the players off the field.
“It’s a lot different now to when we went away," he said. "There was no internet, there were no iPads, nothing like that. The lads will have that looked after for them. I am sure the FAI will do their job and bring the right equipment with them. There’ll be DVDs to watch, you can take your computer and sit and watch films.
“It shouldn’t be a problem for them. There is a boredom level. The longer you’re there as a group you’ve got to get on with each other but I do think that from that point of view they’ll be fine,” said Houghton.
“I can imagine them going from room to room, sitting in having a chat for an hour or so and just whiling away the hours. But they’ve got to remember what they are there for. They are there to play football and to represent their country. Every one of them want to do well and I am sure they will,” he added.