Brady delighted to be playing at highest level with Canaries

Robbie Brady ensured he would still be playing top-flight football this season with his move to Norwich in the summer  
Damian Spellman

ROBBIE BRADY has admitted he needed to be playing Barclays Premier League football to fulfil his international ambitions.

The 23-year-old Republic of Ireland international swapped relegated Hull for promoted Norwich in July, and has started all four of the Canaries' league games to date. Former Manchester United trainee Brady revealed it was a difficult decision to leave the KC Stadium, but his desire to be playing top-flight football to equip him for the international stage was one of the factors involved.

He said: "It was massive for me, personally. I wanted to play at the highest level and try to stay there. When the opportunity came around, I was over the moon and, luckily enough, it went through.

"But it is good. I want to be playing at the highest level and it can only help coming in to play these games if I am playing at the highest level."

Asked how tough it was to walk away from Hull, where he had a two-and-a-half year permanent stint after two successful loans spells, he replied: "It is difficult.

"I spent quite a big spell at Hull and I really enjoyed it and I had some great friends there. I'd just got settled in a house and then it was time to up and move. But it happens and you have got to get on with it. I've got on with everyone since I have been down there, so I am happy again."

Brady, a winger by trade, has established himself as left-back for both club and country in recent months, and he will hope to retain his place in Martin O'Neill's team for Friday night's Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar and the showdown with Georgia which follows three days later. The Republic can afford no slip-ups if they are to retain any hope of qualification and that is not lost on the players.

Brady said: "I still think there are a lot of twists and turns now coming in because there are still a lot of games to be played, and you know how mad football is with different results.

"But we need to go and win these two games and I'm sure we will get things right this week and go and do a job."

O'Neill had only Stoke striker Jon Walters missing on Tuesday morning as he thrashed out his future on transfer deadline day and, while he too is well aware the Group D campaign is reaching crunch-point, he is focusing only on his team.

The manager said: "We can only try to control what's in front of us and everything else will fall into place if that's the case. We know that we have to win matches, regardless of what happens elsewhere."

O'Neill, as ever, refused to be drawn on what team he might field in Faro on Friday evening, although he did hint that winger Aiden McGeady might have a cameo role to play after injury and skipper Robbie Keane's rich vein of MLS form has not gone unnoticed on this side of the Atlantic.

The 63-year-old said: "Robbie Keane is obviously a terrific goalscorer. My own view, rather selfishly, I wish he was 27 rather than closer to 37, but he's been a great player.

"His attitude, his enthusiasm for the game, it's as if he was 18 years-of-age. I think he, himself, feels better physically than he did when he came in in June time - he says that himself - and that's good news. Obviously, the number of goals he's scoring for the [Los Angeles] Galaxy has helped his confidence and helped his frame of mind." 


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