Rosler hopes Irish eyes will be smiling

Republic of Ireland's James McClean during a training session
Republic of Ireland's James McClean during a training session
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UWE Rosler is prepared to put national loyalties to one side tonight and cheer on James McClean to victory in Germany.

The Latics chief will be a more than interested observer when Ireland travel to Gelsenkirchen to take on the world champions.

Ireland go into the game well-placed in Group B, with a maximum six points from their two matches played.

Victory would put a six-point buffer between themselves and Germany, who were beaten 2-0 in Poland at the weekend. And Rosler believes such a scenario is not beyond McClean and his colleagues.

“It’s definitely a good time for Ireland to be playing Germany,” Rosler told the Evening Post. “Germany are having a little bit of a hangover from the World Cup – which is only natural.

“The full-back position in the national team is also not the strongest at the moment now (Philipp) Lahm is retired and they have a few injuries.

“I am expecting James to start the game, because he is highly rated by Martin O’Neill. “Scoring two goals against Gibraltar at the weekend will not have done him any harm. He is in good form, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ireland were to get a result.

“That would mean James returning in a very good state of mind, which would obviously be great for us.”

While some club managers bemoan their players going away for international duty, Rosler feels in McClean’s case it could benefit all parties.

“It can be a positive for some players – especially those who have not played a lot of football,” Rosler said.

“The possibility of getting another 90 minutes under his belt, in a team where things are going well collectively as well as individually,can only be a good thing.”

McClean’s two-goal salvo in the 7-0 romp over Gibraltar has certainly not gone unnoticed, with German boss Joachim Low name-checking the Latics star during his pre-match press conference.

“Ireland are a very well-organised team, but at the same time, they have excellent players, like Robbie Keane, Aiden McGeady, James McClean and other players who come from the wings and are very good.”