Byline: Michael SCULLY
IT would be hard to be involved day in, day out with Roy Keane and not have some of that utter will to win rub off on you.
Hence it should come as little surprise that John O'Shea, Keane's team-mate at Manchester United and occasional midfield partner this season, wants what his older colleague wants when the big prize is mentioned.
The World Cup. Keane remarkably refused to travel to Japan in 2002 when he sensed the Irish squad wasn't ready to go for the ultimate accolade.
With O'Shea, it's a case of wanting to qualify for the finals - and then making the sort of impact he feels Ireland should be making with the squad at Brian Kerr's disposal.
"The obvious answer is that it's every kid's dream, and I'm no different," said O'Shea of the prospect of qualifying from Group Four.
"It will be a case of a lot hard work to be put in to get to the end goal, and it's a long road to get there yet."People say to enjoy these things but you only do when you win at the end. It's not just enough to get there, we have to make inroads at these tournaments."
Echoes of Keane there, but O'Shea has done his growing up at a club where exacting demands are placed on everyone involved. And he's done his developing in the shadow of Keane, coming through the United youth ranks.
After two years on the outside, O'Shea is glad to have the 33-year-old back midfielder in the Irish squad.
Tomorrow, they will play a competitive game together for the first time, as Keane missed the opening qualifier against Cyprus, and O'Shea the next one against Switzerland.
"He's back, it's not a case of keeping talking about it because he's there now," commented O'Shea.
"He's one of the best players in the world and he's going to do a great job for us.
"I'm looking forward to playing alongside him against France, hopefully, and hopefully against the Faroes as well.
"The main thing he brings would be experience. But he's not just an old-timer coming in! He's not bringing his pipe and slippers and not doing anything, he's probably still the best player out there.
"That's the most important factor."
Along with Keane and Liam Miller, O'Shea has been enjoying the mind-games that were going on at United.
There was plenty of ammunition to use on United's French contingent - consisting of Louis Saha and Mikael Silvestre - until the players joined their respective international squads this week, though the injured Saha remained at Old Trafford. …