Forlan: No easy ride for Ireland
Striker Diego Forlan has promised the Republic of Ireland’s younger players Uruguay will not cut them any slack when the sides meet in Dublin tonight.
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has named a largely inexperienced team to face the World Cup semi-finalists at the Aviva Stadium after sending home the likes of Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne, Damien Duff and Kevin Kilbane in the wake of Saturday’s Euro 2012 qualifier victory over Macedonia.
That means starts for 20-year-old James McCarthy and Ciaran Clark, 21, in a side which boasts a total of just 103 senior caps, six fewer than Kilbane alone.
However, Atletico Madrid star Forlan insists the South Americans will treat the Irish team just as they would any other.
He said: "They played a qualifying game on Saturday and some of the players have been playing a lot of games and have been rested.
“But we came here to play a nice game against Ireland. It doesn’t matter who they are playing, we are going to do our best to win the game.
“I know the team, I have been watching some games and we are always watching players. We know it will be a really tough team with good players.
“It doesn’t matter whether they are young or old, every player all over the world when they get the chance to play for their national team is going to try to do their best. In this case we expect that.”
Uruguay arrived in Dublin to be greeted by bright sunshine, a far cry from the conditions they found in Tallin on Friday night as they slipped to a surprising 2-0 defeat by Estonia.
The game was played in freezing temperatures and with snow falling, and while there was a chill in the air at the Aviva Stadium the following evening, Forlan admitted the conditions when he and his team-mates trained there on Monday afternoon were far more to his liking.
He said: “This is like summer for us after being in Estonia, where it was really freezing.
“We played quite well in the first half, but in the second half, the pitch was very hard and it was difficult for us.”
Uruguay will be without injured Liverpool striker Luis Suarez tomorrow night, but the man who played alongside him at last summer’s World Cup finals in South Africa has not been at all surprised by how quickly he has found his feet in the English game since his $US 36.5million January move to Anfield.
Forlan said: “I’m really happy for him. He’s a good friend and he’s at a good club.
“The way he is doing it now is really nice and I hope he will continue doing that.
“I think he’s a great player – he showed that at the World Cup and with Ajax. He has this opportunity and now he is doing really well.”
Forlan, of course, had his own spell in the Premier League with Manchester United earlier in his career, and has been linked with a return to England in recent months.
However, he remained diplomatic when asked about the speculation.
He said: “It would have to be really good offer. At the moment there is none, so I didn’t consider anything.
“But at the moment, I have two years more of a contract at Atletico Madrid and it’s a good team and I am happy there. You never know.”