/ Soccer

Conor Sammon hopes to be given the nod to start against Spain in New York on Wednesday

Updated: Sunday, 09 Jun 2013 11:19 | Comments

Conor Sammon provided the cross which led to Robbie Keane's third goal against the Faroe Islands
Conor Sammon provided the cross which led to Robbie Keane's third goal against the Faroe Islands

Conor Sammon is relishing the chance to test himself against world and European champions Spain in New York.

The 26-year-old Republic of Ireland frontman is hoping for a start at Yankee Stadium during the early hours of Wednesday morning, and that could present the intriguing prospect of a battle against Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos.

However, Derby striker Sammon insists he would not be fazed by the task of trying to get the better of a household name.

He said: "I'm very keen to go over there and try to get a start. I'd love to test myself against a top, top team like Spain, who could field two or three XIs that would be world-class.

"I'm definitely vying for a starting place. I would love to get the nod up front.

"I'd fancy my chances against most fellas. I'm keen to get out there and battle with anyone.

"You watch players like that on the television and they are strong boys and good physical battles, so I would love to test myself against someone like that."

Sammon has now made six appearances for his country, the last three of them as a substitute in the most recent fixtures against England, Georgia and the Faroe Islands, with manager Giovanni Trapattoni happy to add his brawn to the other weapons in his armoury.

It was he who provided the cross from which skipper Robbie Keane completed his hat-trick in Friday night's 3-0 World Cup qualifier victory over the Faroes.

However, he is yet to open his own goalscoring account, and that is something he is determined to address as quickly as possible.

He said: "Obviously, I'd love to score a goal myself, which is the next target, but to be involved and to help set up a goal like that was another brilliant experience for myself, and one that I will look to carry on being a part of.

"The manager obviously sees something in me and keeps giving me the opportunities to come off the bench and to make an impact.

"I was delighted to come on and set up Robbie for his hat-trick and be a part of a good result for the team."

Keane's treble on the night he became Ireland's most-capped player took his international tally to 59 goals, and his efforts are appreciated as much on the pitch as they are off it.

Sammon said: "It's hard to know what else you can say about him.

"To get that amount of appearances, the way he has looked after himself over his career and the goals he has scored as well, it's incredible.

"Is that 59 now he has got? It's incredible. It won't be long before he's into the sixties.

"It's a pleasure for myself to play alongside him and to train alongside him as well, and just try to learn and soak up being around people like that."

The Republic will draw the curtain on a long campaign in New York, but minds are already turning to September and the crunch Group C clashes with Sweden and Austria which will go much of the way to determining which of them finishes in second place behind Germany.

Austria's home win over the Swedes has given them the edge, but Sammon is confident Trapattoni's men have what it takes to claim the runners-up spot.

He said: "We just came into the game knowing that we had to look after ourselves, get the three points and take it one game at a time, which is what we are doing.

"Yes, we know we have got some big games coming up, but we also know we have got a very good squad of players in there and a manager who believes in us and that we can go on and get that second place."

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