/ Soccer

Striker Kevin Doyle is ready to take out his frustration on Spain, Italy and Croatia

Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2012 09:12 | Comments

Kevin Doyle: "I'm confident about my own form, I am feeling good, I am feeling fit and fresh, mentally I am feeling fresh."
Kevin Doyle: "I'm confident about my own form, I am feeling good, I am feeling fit and fresh, mentally I am feeling fresh."

Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle is ready to take out his frustration on Spain, Italy and Croatia as he plots a Euro 2012 shock.

The 28-year-old frontman spent too much of the second half of the last Barclays Premier League season for his liking sitting on the bench as Wolves slipped out of the top flight.

But he is confident that has left him fit, fresh and raring to go as Ireland prepare for an intensely difficult Group C campaign in Poland and Ukraine.

Doyle said: "I didn't play as much, especially in the second half, as I would have liked, so I will be fresh for it. That's the positive I take out of it.

"I'm confident about my own form, I am feeling good, I am feeling fit and fresh, mentally I am feeling fresh.

"I haven't had as near as tough a second half to the season from a physical point of view as I have had before, to be honest, because I haven't played as many games, which can only be good for me and for Ireland, hopefully, if I play because I am really hungry to do well in the summer."

Speaking of the Republic's chances in Poland and the Ukraine, Doyle said: "If you are in it, you have a chance. I don't think it's madness.

"The manager has used the example plenty of times of Greece. But the toughest part really is getting out of our group because it's so difficult.

"But it shows whenever we play the big teams, we compete and do well in these tournaments.

Doyle added: "We seem to get out of the group stages - the quarter-final in 1990 and the World Cup in 1994, we got through the group, and the [2002] World Cup, we got through the group, so we have a good history when we have been involved in the Euros or World Cups."

"We have all seen Irish teams do well in World Cups, so hopefully that will rub off on us."

Trapattoni's native country could not beat his current charges either home or away in the last World Cup qualifying campaign, and succumbed 2-0 in a friendly in the Belgian city of Liege last summer.

For that reason, while Doyle and his team-mates know they have a major challenge on their hands, they are equally aware that none of their Group C opponents will take them lightly.

The striker said: "I hope not - Italy won't, I am sure, because they have experienced it three times in the last few years.

"Last summer was a great result for us and they will know what to expect.

"Our manager, I think, gets that little bit more excited when we are playing Italy than normal as well.

"He will know them inside-out and we will be prepared. They are a good team, Croatia, Spain - it's going to be very difficult, we are not stupid.

"But I am sure they are not thinking it is going to be anything but difficult against us as well."

Doyle joined up with the squad in Malahide yesterday having had some time to come to terms with his disappointment at Wolves' relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

He and club-mates Stephen Ward, Kevin Foley and Stephen Hunt could be forgiven for having reported down in the dumps, but the former Reading hitman is adamant that is not the case.

He said: "The opposite. It's a release. It's great to have this at the end of a very tough season, to be able to finish on a high note, hopefully.

"There are four of us from Wolves in the squad and we have all said the same thing. We have had a reason to keep going the last couple of months to make sure we were right for this.

"A few of the Wolves lads were jealous. It has been such a tough season, and they had to go off and try to forget about it.

"We have got this to be excited about and to have something really brilliant to look forward to.

"It's kept us going, definitely. I am really looking forward to it now."
Doyle will return to his club after the finals to start work with a new manager in the shape of Norwegian Stale Solbakken, and that too is a challenge he will relish.

He said: "I am excited. He had a season like us last year, but apart from that, he has been very successful.

"Stephen Kelly and Damien Duff play with [Brede] Hangeland at Fulham, and he played under him and he told them he is very, very good.

"I think we have done well to get him."

Relegation has inevitably led to speculation about where Doyle might be playing his football next season with Reading having already been linked with a move to take him back to the Madejski Stadium.

However, the Wexford-born marksman insists he has had no approach from manager Brian McDermott - the man who as chief scout paved the way for his move to the Royals in the first place - and doubts the wisdom of returning to a former club.

He said: "He was chief scout and brought me over. He came to watch me a number of times in the League of Ireland and I will be forever grateful for that to himself and Steve Coppell.

"I had four brilliant years there. It was enjoyable enough for me and they don't need me to go back there and ruin the success they have had.

"I have honestly not thought about it. As I say, I had four really good years and I don't think personally you should ever go back.

"Everyone says it's never the same - not that I have had the option, by the way. I have not spoken to Brian [about a move], just to wish him all the best."

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use