Saturday, February 14, 2009
Sheridan looking to prove his worth
Cillian Sheridan added an Ireland U21 cap to a list of achievements from this season which included Champions League football and his debut SPL goal for Celtic.
But the County Cavan striker admits that he has a long way to go before he can find his way into Giovanni Trapattoni's senior squad at international level.
Sheridan, who played the full 90 minutes in Motherwell's 1-0 win over Hamilton today, after his loan move from Celtic, made his U21 debut in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Germany in Cork and the 19-year-old played a role as Ireland came from a goal down and earned a creditable draw against a more experienced German side.
"The senior Ireland squad is a long way away for me even though I've had a decent run in the Celtic team this season and a bit of exposure with those games in the Champions League against Manchester United," says the Ulster man.
"There is so much competition up front with Ireland now, you have Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle as the established two up front. But then you have a lot of people who are fighting to get a run, lads like Shane Long and Noel Hunt, who have done very well for their clubs and played for Ireland already.
"There are also people who can't even get into the senior Ireland squad now, lads like Anthony Stokes, so up front there are a lot of people looking to play for Ireland and only two can start, so I know I am down the pecking order.
"But if I can prove myself to Mr Trapattoni at U21 level and get a few goals for my club, then he might take notice. But I know I have a lot of work to do.
"There is a chance there with Ireland. Trapattoni is in contact with Don Givens to know how the U21 players are doing and there are a lot of young players in the senior squad already.
"I think I need to take a step backwards so I can get forward and that's the case with my loan move to Motherwell.
"I need to go and prove that I can play on a weekly basis, because I've had such a bad run with injuries, and then go and do that for Celtic," added Sheridan, who was relieved to finally make his debut for the Irish U21s in that draw against Germany, over a year after he was first called into the U21 panel by Don Givens.
"It was nice to get the debut out of the way, good to have under my belt. I have been in the U21 squad for the last year or so but because of injuries I wasn't able to come over and play -- thankfully I've managed to do that now," he says. "I have missed a lot of football with Ireland due to all my injuries. I think the last time I played was with the U19s in Dublin last year, when we played Germany.
"So Tuesday in Cork was a good result for us. Germany are a good side, they have players with all the top clubs in Germany, their lads have played in the Bundesliga, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup and most of our players don't have that experience."
Sheridan is now in his third season of first team football, having made his Celtic debut in March 2007, just two days after his 18th birthday. Last season was a write-off for the former Belvedere player as he managed just one appearance for Celtic due to injuries, but he emerged earlier this season due to a shortage of senior strikers at Parkhead, Sheridan making 16 first team appearances including two Champions League outings against Manchester United.
The return from injury of Strachan's crocked strikers has pushed Sheridan down the ladder so he's been sent out on loan to Mark McGhee's Motherwell to gain experience.
"It's a good move for me as it's a chance to get games, which I might not have been able to do at Celtic because the squad is so big," Sheridan says.
"I know I still have a future at Celtic and I think the staff there will be watching me at Motherwell. Hopefully I can have a good four months at Motherwell, score a few goals, have a good break over the summer and go back to Parkhead fresh for the new season."