Richie Sadlier: 'I don’t think we were good enough to have advanced to this tournament'

Sat, Jun 09 2018

Shane Long reacts during Denmark's 5-1 win in Dublin in last year's play-off Credit: Brian F Smyth (ETPhotos)

Richie Sadlier feel that Republic of Ireland can have no complaints about their failure to qualify for the forthcoming World Cup in Russia this summer.

He pointed at the overall lack of depth and quality during the campaign, which was shown up in the play-off defeat to Denmark.

Sadier was speaking at the Donnybrook launch of RTÉ’s coverage of the tournament, which is set to commence on Thursday 14th June. Having been involved in broadcasting throughout the campaign, he believes that we may have struggled in the tournament.

“If you look at the whole qualifying campaign, and the way the play-off went with how comfortably Denmark beat us in the second game. In a number of different areas, and for a number of different reasons, I don’t think we are good enough to have advanced to this tournament.”

In previous occasions, we may have felt unlucky or hard done by. The ‘hand of Henry’ was still being referenced in the studio. Sadlier felt we cannot use this excuse this particular time.

“I don’t think any of us could look back at the qualifying campaign with a sense of unjust to say that we were hard done by.”

The Danes, instead of us, are poised to begin their journey on Saturday 16th.

“Denmark deserved to go through. And I hope they do well. If they have to go in our place, then at least I hope they do themselves justice.”

Having come through the schoolboy and youth ranks, he feels it is critical to start introducing new faces to the squad. He pointed at some of the recent friendly games against the likes of Turkey and USA. “Declan Rice has played really well. Callum O’ Dowda has emerged as a really good player. Sean Maguire is still to establish himself in the squad and has been doing really, really well for Preston. Darragh Lenihan came in at centre-half and Kevin Long has been in the last couple of squads.”

The Euros saw the likes of Shane Duffy emerge as an important member of the squad. He hopes that some of these can have a similar impact. “He made the position his own and an important member of the squad. I am looking forward to seeing how those players integrate themselves in the squad.”