Newcastle's Duff has Ireland concerns

Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff has expressed his concerns over the future of the national team as he feels the side's younger players are not as excited about playing for their country as they should be.

At 28, Duff still has a good few years in him, but can be considered a veteran when compared with the majority of the squad named for this week's friendly with Brazil at Croke Park. The Newcastle man has played in just one major tournament since making his debut in 1998 and feels the frustration that that has left the fans feeling has emanated through to the younger members of the panel.

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"They're a different breed to when I was coming through," Duff told The Irish Daily Mirror.

"I'm feeling old definitely - body and age wise. They've changed. We didn't say boo to a goose - now we get all sorts of stick from them, but it's good craic."

Duff is in the game long enough to know that criticism is par for the course, but he feels the players coming into the squad today may feel they do not need such criticism and that that in turn may out them off playing for their country.

He added: "I am concerned from the young players point of view. Some of them aren't worried, but they don't exactly look forward to it as the likes of myself and Robbie [Keane] would have when we were coming over at 20 and 21. It's just totally different - obviously because of results.

"At a personal level I've seen it all, especially at Newcastle so coming over and getting a bit of stick is like water off a duck's back. But the youngsters coming through, it's meant to be the most exciting part of your career, playing for your country, instead they're thinking ‘I didn't sign up for this', you know.

"The media stuff is one thing, but it didn't help that when we sent to see Bernard Dunne boxing last March they went along and they end up being booed."

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