Republic of Ireland midfielder Keith Fahey says he has put the heartache of missing out on Euro 2012 through injury behind him and is intent on playing his part on the road to World Cup 2014.
Indeed, the Birmingham City man set the Boys in Green on the road to Poland with the winning goal in their opening qualifier against Armenia in Yerevan in September 2010. But he missed the summer showpiece with a groin injury and also the fortuitous win over Kazakhstan last month but is now fighting for a place in an injury-depleted Ireland midfield for Friday night’s Group C World Cup qualifier clash with Germany.
“I’ve missed nearly a year with ongoing injuries,” Fahey told reporters at a press conference on Monday night. “But I’m desperate to play for Ireland. I am not one that comes and expects to sit on the bench every game.
“I want to play and if I have do to better in training I want to do it. I want to get more caps under my belt, I want to do well and wear the green shirt.”
“I had a great summer, went away on holidays, had a good long rest and I needed that. I needed the time that I had to take so it worked out well for me. I’m fit now.
“I was disappointed to miss out on the Euros but the way it worked out, I needed it,” he added.
The 29-year-old, who has three goals in 15 Ireland caps, also revealed that manager Giovanni Trapattoni had been working on a three-man midfield formation during Monday’s training session and that, against the might of the Germans, it’s a tactic that will help the team.
He said: “Playing three [in midfield] against the quality of Germany is going to help the team be more solid.
“When we played Spain, the two lads – Keith [Andrews] and Glenn [Whelan] – put in a massive shift but they still couldn’t get near Spain with their quality but I think playing a three in there would definitely help the team be more solid.”
If the Italian manager does go down that road Fahey is in line for a start with injury having ruled out Stoke’s Whelan. Also in the former St Patrick’s Athletic player’s favour is the fact that Sunderland’s David Meyler, who was a late call-up to the squad, has just one cap to his name – against Oman last month – and Trapattoni generally favours more experienced players, especially in big qualification matches.
But despite the German’s obvious class – with 17 of their original 22-man squad being involved in Champions League games compared to only Spartak Moscow's Aiden McGeady for the Republic – Fahey refuses to rule out the possibility of an upset.
“We’ve got believe that we can get something out of the game. It’s a saying but football is a funny old game, you don’t know what’s going to happen.
“We’ll be hoping to get something out of the game. Why not win it, why not? It’s 11 against 11, we’re not playing 11 supermen,” he added.
Meanwhile, Robbie Keane and Aiden McGeady trained with the group at Malahide on Tuesday after arriving in Dublin from Los Angeles and Moscow respectively on Monday. Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood completed a session in a gym.
Ireland take on Germany at the Aviva Stadium on Friday October 12.