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"The Bigger The Game, The Bigger The Feel About It": John Egan On France

"The Bigger The Game, The Bigger The Feel About It": John Egan On France
By Eoin Harrington Updated
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John Egan will hope to slot into the Ireland team for Monday's huge game against France at the Aviva Stadium.

The opening game of Ireland's EURO 2024 qualifying campaign could hardly be against tougher opposition, with France coming off the back of losing a World Cup final just over three months ago.

Egan started Wednesday's friendly win against Latvia on the bench, with three youngsters in Nathan Collins, Andrew Omobamidele, and Dara O'Shea starting in the middle of a back five - but one expects that at least one of Egan and Seamus Coleman will be brought in to add experience to the lineup for Monday night's mammoth tie.

Speaking to Balls and the Irish media this week at the launch of the FAI's partnership with Circle K, John Egan said that he relishes the biggest games with Ireland, and that the prospect of facing tougher opposition will give him and the squad an extra lift.

Ireland v France: John Egan Stephen Kenny

John Egan appeared alongside manager Stephen Kenny and Ireland women's player Abbie Larkin in a media day to mark Circle K's new sponsorship of the FAI on Thursday afternoon. The announcement of the new partnership sees Circle K become the Official Fuel and Convenience Partner to the FAI, partner to the Men’s and Women’s National Teams and title sponsor of FAI Club Mark.

The new partnership will see Circle K sponsor the FAI Club Mark, which recognises excellence in the governance of football clubs, as well as supporting grassroots football.

Stephen Kenny, John Egan and Abbie Larkin pictured at the launch of Circle K’s new partnership with the Football Association of Ireland. Circle K joins The FAI as Official Fuel and Convenience Partner, partner to the Men’s and Women’s National Teams and the first ever title partner of FAI Club Mark, the association’s grassroots award to improve clubs and help grow football in communities throughout Ireland. For more information visit circlek.ie

Even off the back of a well-earned win on Wednesday night against Latvia, all attention was on Monday's box-office tie against France - and Egan said that these kinds of games are the ones he looks forward to most:

We've played some big teams in the past couple of years and had some of our best performances. We're under no illusion it's going to be a tough game playing against top class opposition. As a team, we're really looking forward to preparing over the next few days.

We want to go out there together and give a good performance for ourselves.

The World Cup final was obviously one of the best games of football ever for a neutral to watch. We'll start analysing France now in the next few days leading up to the game.

The bigger the game, there's a bigger feel about it. Obviously you treat every game for Ireland like it's the last because you're just really proud to put on the green shirt. But when you do play a bigger nation, especially at home, you can feel the bigger buzz around the stadium. There's more adrenaline and stuff like that. It will be a really big occasion.

Since making his Ireland debut in 2017, Egan has played against the likes of Denmark and England, though the biggest games in that time came against Portugal in qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

1 September 2021; John Egan of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's goal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying group A match between Portugal and Republic of Ireland at Estádio Algarve in Faro, Portugal. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Egan would score in the first game between the sides in Faro in September 2021, while he and partners Seamus Coleman and Shane Duffy went on to shackle Cristiano Ronaldo in an impressive 0-0 draw in Dublin later that same year.

France will surpass even that star-studded Portuguese team as the biggest test Egan has faced yet in an Irish jersey, with the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann making up the core of what is arguably the strongest team in Europe.

There have, however, been a number of departures from the French camp in recent months, with Raphael Varane and captain Hugo Lloris both retiring from international football, while the ever-injured Paul Pogba is unavailable, as are William Saliba and Karim Benzema, who has enjoyed his latest fall-out with the French national team setup.


With reports earlier this week of unrest within the camp coming from Antoine Griezmann, coupled with the high-profile absentees from the French squad, it may be the perfect time to play Les Bleus.

Nonetheless, Egan is not interested in thinking too much about the state the French find themselves in, saying that Ireland will simply focus on their own preparation:

Given the calibre of the opponent, we just focus on ourselves. We know what we have to do in our dressing room and we focus on ourselves in training. We want to make sure we turn up and we do our jobs, that's kind of all we can control.

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