• Robbie Brady impressed Martin O’Neill with passion in 2013 
  • Brady has been criticised for how he started as a young Manchester United player 
  • But the Norwich midfielder has learned from his mistakes as a youngster
  • Irish international now hoping to pass on tips to junior players 

David Sneyd For The Irish Daily Mail

First impressions matter to Martin O’Neill, and Robbie Brady could not have made a better one in November 2013.

Not that it was anything to do with matters on the pitch. Instead, it was the effort the Dubliner made to tell O’Neill personally that he was unavailable for the new manager’s first match in charge — a friendly with Latvia — that so impressed.

‘In a crazy sort of way, I admire that,’ O’Neill said. ‘He made the journey over to say, “I want to be involved in squads here, but I’m not fit”. He wanted to tell me himself rather than for me to hear it from someone else. And that sits pretty well with you.’

Norwich midfielder Robbie Brady has adapted to life away from the elite clubs over the last few years

Norwich midfielder Robbie Brady has adapted to life away from the elite clubs over the last few years

The Irish midfielder made a good first impression on Martin O'Neill when he was called up in 2013

The Irish midfielder made a good first impression on Martin O’Neill when he was called up in 2013

If O’Neill has nothing but good things to say about the 23-year-old’s application, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has mixed memories of how a teenage Brady adapted to life at Old Trafford after joining from St Kevin’s Boys.

Speaking after Norwich City’s 3-0 defeat to Southampton on Sunday, Neville praised the way in which he has adapted to life as a left back but recalled a lack of professionalism during his formative years at United.

‘When I first went over it was the biggest club in the world and me coming over from back here, it took me a while to get to grips with what it really took,’ Brady explained.

‘In all different types of ways. When you’re training day-in, day-out, just the whole football life it would never have been 24 hours. Well, I was thinking about it but I wasn’t as intense and I was still in awe when I went over. Maybe it took me a little while to get what it really took.

‘I’ve been watching these players since I was a baby, the best players in the world and then you find yourself in training and eating with them.

Brady joined Norwich from Hull City this summer, after leaving Old Trafford to get regular football

Brady joined Norwich from Hull City this summer, after leaving Old Trafford to get regular football

‘It’s a good learning curve and seeing how it was done served me well.’

Two loan spells with Hull City soon made him wake up to what was required if he was to survive in the game.

‘They helped me mature and grow up and get my head around what it took,’ Brady admitted.

‘I feel on the road now and I know what I want. I’m setting goals for myself and hopefully I can keep on going.’

After getting a taste of regular football on loan under Steve Bruce, there was no danger of feeling sorry for himself when the time eventually came to leave Old Trafford and sign permanently with Hull.

When he started at Manchester United Brady was criticised by Gary Neville for his attitude

When he started at Manchester United Brady was criticised by Gary Neville for his attitude

‘That’s the thing. You have to stay hungry. You can’t be thinking “Oh, I’m not at Man United”. If you have that mind-set you can only go one way and that’s down.’

Brady remembers the advice given to him by John O’Shea at United and even though his education continues, he has been through enough to offer guidance to his younger team-mates with club and country.

‘If I can get a chance to chat to a few of them and if they can learn anything off me then I’ll be more than happy to give my penny’s worth.

‘I’ve been through it myself as well as the rest of the older lads and I think a few of them understand. I’ll try as help as much as I can,’ he added.

 

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