Morrison reveals secret of Irish success

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Clinton Morrison has revealed that Brian Kerr's faith and Roy Keane's rollickings are the reasons behind his remarkable run of form for the Republic of Ireland.

Clinton Morrison has revealed that Brian Kerr's faith and Roy Keane's rollickings are the reasons behind his remarkable run of form for the Republic of Ireland.

The Birmingham City striker scored his fourth goal in his last six matches when he claimed the winner in a 1-0 Lansdowne Road friendly victory over China.

His international form is in contrast to club level, where he is struggling to win a first-team place under Steve Bruce. He has even stalled on signing a new contract in the knowledge it could affect his international opportunities next season.

Kerr made it clear on Tuesday night that Morrison needed to be playing regularly because the 25-year-old struggled for fitness in the closing stages of Saturday's World Cup qualifying draw against Israel in Tel Aviv before being replaced with five minutes remaining. Morrison knows he needs to be sharper, particularly with a key double-header in June at home to Israel and then away to the Faroe Islands.

But at least he has the backing of his manager Kerr and the Manchester United midfielder Keane. Morrison said: "It's that green jersey - it just brings the best out in me. It's also about a manager who has faith in you. If you have that and you know you are going to play every time you are called up then you are going to be full of confidence.

"Whereas if you are not playing, or you are in and out, you don't think the manager has that faith in you and that affects you.

"There are also brilliant players around me. I'm obviously playing with better players with Ireland than those at Birmingham, and that also gives you confidence. In particular, since Roy Keane returned to the side, I have got on brilliantly with him. He helps me out a lot, and when you've someone like that barking instructions out to you, again it gives you a massive lift."

Morrison's lack of match action at Birmingham since the transfer-window arrivals of Robbie Blake and Walter Pandiani is of great concern to him. All he can hope for is that Bruce has seen him score in his last two games, adding: "What happens now is up to the manager.

"At the moment he has his front two he likes to pick, Emile Heskey and Pandiani. All I can do is keep giving him reminders of what I can do when I'm out on the pitch because I've been talking too much and saying 'come on Steve Bruce, give me this, give me that', so I'll just let my football do the talking.

"There were a few Championship clubs that wanted to take me on loan, but the manager didn't want to let me go. If I had gone then maybe it would have been of benefit to me, because I do need games.

"But the manager says I am still part of his plans, so hopefully with eight games to go I will play some part. I'll just keep going because we've the June qualifiers and they will be key, but if I'm not playing in the Premiership, then I will train hard, work hard and play reserve games to keep my fitness up.

"Because I haven't been playing a lot at Birmingham it did affect me in the last half an hour against Israel, so to put me on the bench and bring me on late was the right thing to do.

"I told him [Kerr] not to worry and that I'd score the winner because I believe in my confidence - and it happened. I'm pleased I got it. My form's good at the moment, although it could change so easily, but I'm playing with a lot of confidence and hopefully I can keep it going.

"You read stuff that says Robbie Keane is the main goalscorer for Ireland, but when I get chances I am confident I will score goals. I don't think I've scored better goals than these last two."