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David Meyler Lifts The Lid On FIFA Apologies And The Biggest Gamers In The Irish Squad

David Meyler Lifts The Lid On FIFA Apologies And The Biggest Gamers In The Irish Squad
By Gavin Cooney
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There are larger stadiums in the world than the Aviva and KCOM Stadiums, but few footballers consistently attract as large an audience as David Meyler. Along with kicking a ball around in front of thousands every week, the Irish midfielder is a FIFA fanatic and streams his FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) games to more than 100,000 subscribers on Twitch.

Meyler took an hour out before training with Ireland on Monday to promote the most recent installment of the game, and waxed lyrical about improvements in the game - it's become more difficult to defend, thereby offering Balls a handy excuse for the prodigious leaking of goals since we got our mitts on the new game -  and new modes such as squad battles, that appeal to the more casual player of FUT

That said, he does have one slight problem with the new game....

Ha, it's just my pace. I'm rated at 54, last year I was at 55. I just seem to be getting lower and lower, and I don't think I've gotten any slower since! The rest of the stats I don't really have a problem with. I've seen Dele Alli, Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie, Mendy, Batschyuai, everyone is complaining about their stats.

Meyler appeared on Soccer AM last month to discover his updated stats for this year's edition, much to his disgust.

That said, it won't deter him from playing. His latest FUT project is to assemble a team of Hull City players and ascend ten divisions to the summit, although he may be picking a different side to the one picked by Leonid Slutsky.

At the moment I have Michael Dawson centre-half and he has 27-pace. After I played the first game I was in the next day with them, saying 'You're so slow, you're dropped!' But I pick the Hull team based on what's the best for me at FIFA.

I might have to fall out with some of them! But you look at Jared Bowen, a young kid who has been terrific for us. 7 goals in 11 games, he has been brilliant for us. But he's rated 62, bronze-rated, I said to him 'You're awful, I can't use you!" He said fair enough, hopefully he'll get a winter upgrade!

As for the Irish players, Meyler says he hasn't looked at many of the ratings yet, although has spotted James McClean's 74: "I haven't looked too much at the Irish players. They are always usually the same. McClean is probably a little bit too high for him, I'd like him to come down a bit! I'll tell him that. Seamus too, he's shot up to 81. I've got Seamus now, although I want to try out the boy Aurier a bit".

Roy Keane appeared in a legends' pack for Meyler last season, although was slightly underwhelmed by his rating. Not that it's become a hot topic of conversation at training between the two...


I got him last year. But I don't think his card is as good as it should be. It's rated 88. It's about how he feels. I used Scholes at one stage and he felt awful too. But if you've ever used Ruud Gullit, he's a beast. I was hoping that Roy would be the same to use.

I don't think he's that bothered. I don't think we'll be having many conversations about FIFA!

So if Keane is apathetic, what about those in the Irish camp who do play?


Harry Arter fancies himself, he thinks he's the best. I think he proved he wasn't the best last time. Callum O'Dowda plays, Richie Keogh plays, Ciaran Clark plays but he plays very casually. Seamus plays. In FIFA 12, Seamus would give me a give hiding.

Did I get better? I think he grew up and I didn't! But Seamus used to be very good. After he got injured against Wales I told him he should get back into it and he did, but then he got to the stage in his rehab that he didn't have the time anymore. So he threw the towel in again.


Throughout the course of our interview, it emerges as Balls' sad duty to report that not all members of the Irish camp solemnly observe the sanctity of the Facebook apology. For the uninitiated, players who lose by five or more goals must post a public apology for the limitations of their performance to their successful opponent's Facebook page.


John Egan said he played. On his first trip, he came into my room - because I'd know John really well, I've known him for years and he said he could play. I played him twice and beat him 5-0 both times. It was always a Facebook apology, but now we say Twitter apology. So either or.

He said, 'Woah, woah I never heard of that rule!' What!? Everybody has heard of that rule! But there are no other forfeits really. We'd often do something stupid, you might have to go get food or something.

I'm owed a few apologies. At times you don't get them, but you know how it is. I've got a buddy at home, Cian Parks, he's handing out apologies for fun.

Away from the screen, Meyler is planning to throw himself into the Irish camp over the next eight days, with a shot at a first World Cup in sixteen years the tantalising prize.

We're all looking forward to the games. It's easy for me to sit here and say we have Wales and Moldova, but we need to first focus on Moldova and get the job done, and get the three points. Then start to worry about Wales. Regardless if we win 1-0 or 3-0, we need to make sure we are professional and get the job done. Then we can focus on Wales.

I think full focus is on Moldova. Obviously, we will prepare the same way we always do. We'll run through set pieces during the week, say 'this is what Moldova do, this is what Wales do and this is what we're going to try to do' so we'll prepare the same way we have for all of the the other camps.

In the fallout from the disappointment of the Serbia and Georgia games, the issue of Martin O'Neill's team selection became a talking point in some sections of the media. Not specifically regarding who was in the team, rather it was a case of when the team is named. Those starting find out that they are doing so not long before the public knows, with teams named within a couple of hours of each kick-off rather than earlier in the week.

Meyler can see the positives of O'Neill's approach:

Yeah, we do get told about an hour and half before kick off, I'm not sure of the exact times. But you have to look at yourself, and ask yourself, 'Am I training hard enough, are you doing well?'

It's irrelevant the time that the team is named. You can talk about the positives and the negatives about it. Say he picks the team on a Wednesday, then the ones who are playing may train lighter - they say 'oh I'm playing' - and those who aren't playing might say, 'Oh, I'm not playing, I'm not happy' and that can affect training. You can talk about it either way, but look, it makes no difference.

Meyler stresses that the following few days are about Ireland focusing on themselves, with even the doubt around Gareth Bale's fitness failing to grab his attention.

No. I actually prefer watching Barcelona! But no, I've not looked into who's going to be playing here or who's going to be playing there, we have to focus on ourselves. If we take care of our own business, we'll be fine.

Meyler has been included in the finalised squad for the double-header, alongside a trio of uncapped players: Aiden O'Brien, Seanie Maguire, and Scott Hogan. Meyler has faced the latter pair in the Championship thus far this season, although says it is difficult to get a true understanding of their qualities as an opponent on the field.

Robbie has done it for 20 years, so when someone that big leaves it's a chance for someone else to step up, whether it's Scott Hogan or Sean Maguire.

When they come in, they have to hit the ground running and take it. But you'd see more of a player in training than you do during a game. I played against Preston and Sean Maguire for ninety minutes last week, but you only ever see glimpses. But they are two good strikers, and it's up to them to take the opportunity.

David Meyler was speaking at the launch of EA Sports FIFA 18, which is out now. Pick up your match programme in the Aviva when the Republic of Ireland meet Moldova and find out how you can win a copy of the game and take on the Irish international face-to-face! 



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