Friday, January 9, 2009

McShane enjoying life at Hull

Paul McShane is on top of the world and, against all odds, looking down on relegation.

At the start of the season when McShane accepted a loan deal to Phil Brown's newly promoted Hull City side many expected that the Kilpedder man was going to be in for a long hard season. But the overachievers have surprised everyone and currently sit in eigth place in the Premier League.

And McShane couldn't be happier at the moment and admits that he's enjoying his football now more than at any other point in his career.

'Yeah I'm enjoying it. I've enjoyed every minute of it since I've come here it's been a good experience and the team's done well overall and we've had a bit of a dip in form lately but we have to get back on track and try to get as many points on the board as we can.

'Definitely. When you're playing you'll always enjoy your football more. It's all about playing at the end of the day. But yeah, I'm definitely enjoying it a lot more.'

The 23-year-old also says he doesn't mind too much where he plays on the pitch, as long as he plays.

'I don't know really, I don't know what my position is right now. I was a centre back like, but I've played all season at right back now and I suppose that's my position for the time being but anywhere across the back four really,' stated the modest youngster before adding tongue in cheek: 'And up front, fancy myself as a bit of a striker as well, ahh no I'm only joking.'

One thing a player will never joke about is his future though and the former Manchester United man confesses he hasn't put too much thought into whether or not he will be a Black Cat or a Tiger come next season.

'I'm not sure, I'm really not sure. I'm just taking it easy, I'm just enjoying myself at the moment I haven't really put much thought into where I'll be or whatever in the next few months. I'm just enjoying myself here at the moment and we'll see what happens.'

McShane's stay at Hull could come to a premature end however as new Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia has admitted he's thinking about bringing the Republic of Ireland international back to the Stadium of Light, and he has until the end of the January transfer window to decide. One man who'll be hoping McShane remains at Hull until the end of the season however is manager Phil Brown, and he is a man who has left a mark on 'Macca'.

'He's done well, he's done very well. We've had an incredible start and he's done really well. He has impressed me since I've come here. He's very concentrated, he's specific to detail and he prepares brilliantly so I have to say he's done really well.'

Brown was of course the manager who decided to hold his half-time team talk on the pitch on St. Stephen's Day after Hull went into the break trailing 4-0 to Manchester City and McShane says he can understand his manager's reasoning.

'I felt like a little kid again! But the performance wasn't there in the first-half so everybody was disappointed and I think it was just to give us a kick up the backside really.'

If performances like that continue Hull could find themselves rapidly dropping down the table and the 6ft star is well aware of that prospect.

'You never know. We're lying eigth at the moment and we just want to keep looking ahead of us really. We just want to keep getting points on the board as I said before. We just have to re-group now and put things right.'

Putting his club situation aside for a minute, the former St. David's student spoke fondly of his achievements so far with Ireland having already won 13 caps but admits it won't be easy to force his way into Giovanni Trapattoni's plans when the Italian has a fully fit squad to choose from.

'Yeah it's pretty good. I just want to keep notching up as many caps as I can and there's some important games coming up for the Irish team and I want to be involved in them. I just want to keep playing.

'I don't know. There's a lot of competition at the back so I'll just keep plugging away, keep cracking away at it and hopefully he'll give me a chance. So all I can do is keep cracking away at it.'

Of course you can't discuss the Ireland team without discussing a certain Mr. Stephen Ireland and McShane, like most of us, wants to see the Man. City star back in a green jersey as soon as possible.

'Yeah of course. Of course I would. He's a great player and he's having a great season and we can only benefit from his talent so hopefully he does come back.'

One thing McShane must hate about playing for Ireland is the unjust amount of criticism he receives, mainly from Eamonn Dunphy, but it's like water off a duck's back to the 11 and a half stone defender.

'I just think that's football. You've always got a question mark over you no matter who you are. You'll always have your critics but it's part of the game. It's part of the modern game.

'You've just got to take it. You're not going to be everybody's flavour of the month. You're not going to keep everyone happy but that's just life in general isn't it?'

While he mightn't have found the net in those 13 appearances for Ireland, he has managed to score for Hull this season, coming against Premier League leaders at Liverpool and as expected, he was pretty happy with it.

'It was great. It was brilliant. It was my first goal in the Premier League and it was a special moment. I had got concussion a little bit before it - well not concussion just slight concussion - and then my eyesight sort of went when I got the knock on my head so I had to get taken off so it was a high and a low for me. '

Although that goal caused the Anfield men to drop two points, McShane says he would like to see them lift the Premier League come May as it's been a long wait for the Merseyside club.

One man who could be a big help to Liverpool's title charge is Fernando Torres, and McShane admits the Spaniard is the toughest opponent he's ever faced.

'Fernando Torres. He was probably the toughest. He's an overall great player. He's very clever and he's got great skill as well and he's also very quick.'

Whether at Sunderland or Hull City, the chirpy youngster is going to come up against many more players of top quality, and this will surely only make him even stronger.

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