Damien Duff will captain the Republic of Ireland for the first time when he wins his 100th cap for his country against Italy tomorrow.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni said that usual skipper Robbie Keane has asked for the wide midfielder to lead out the side at the Municipal Stadium Poznan, when he will become the fifth player to achieve a century of appearances for Ireland. Keane, current No1 Shay Given, Kevin Kilbane Steve Staunton are the others.
Duff, 33, said: “It’s something I’ll maybe look back on next week, next year – I know it’s a feat, but at the moment a good result tomorrow is what I want. It’s an awfully proud moment – I know how much it means to myself and my family.”
Trapattoni added: “All of us should express our gratitude to Damien. He is not only an excellent footballer, but is a role model and example to future generations.”
The Fulham FC player has scored eight goals in his 99 games for Ireland, who finish their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign against Italy, with no chance of progress from Group C following two opening defeats.
Keane, who made his debut in the same game as Duff in 1998, said: “Duff has been a massive player. We’ve been through a hell of a lot together. People speak very highly of him. We’ve been very good friends since we made our debut together. He will go down as one of the best players we’ve ever produced.”
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