Giving Derby County striker Conor Sammon 90 minutes on his international debut was "biggest compliment".
GIOVANNI Trapattoni's decision to give Conor Sammon 90 minutes on his international debut is the biggest compliment the manager could pay the Derby County striker, says Rams boss Nigel Clough.
Sammon led the attack for the Republic of Ireland in their 2-0 victory over Poland in a friendly in Dublin on Wednesday night.
His Derby team-mates, Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh, came off the bench to win their first caps.
"It was a proud moment for the three of them," said Clough, "and to leave Conor on all game is the biggest compliment the manager could pay him.
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"On your debut, you usually get about 60 or 70 minutes and then a pat on the back.
"To leave Conor on and against good opposition shows how well he did."
Clough believes Trapattoni and the other players in Ireland's squad would have been impressed by Sammon's work for the team.
"He gave the ball away late on and chased back 60 yards and won a throw-in.
"That sums up Conor," said Clough.
"I think the players and the manager will appreciate that, as we appreciate it.
"Ideally, you don't want to give the ball away in the first place but then it is all about his reaction to go and get the ball back for the team.
"We have seen that honesty and appetite for hard work all season. It is the main thing that attracted us to him.
"We knew he wasn't going to get 20 or 30 goals a season but that will improve as well."
Clough has no real concerns about Sammon playing 90 minutes only days before Derby's Championship clash against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough today.
"We will have a chat with him and see he how is," said Clough.
"He looks full of running but as well as the physical element of the game against Poland, it is everything else – it was his international debut and on a Wednesday night, not a Tuesday when we normally play midweek games. There is also the mental and emotional side of it."
Clough says the players on international duty this week have all returned unscathed, although striker Theo Robinson was still travelling back yesterday after making his debut for Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier against Mexico.
Robinson only arrived back at Heathrow yesterday morning.
"That, of course, is the problem of long-haul games. I think it is a nine or 10-hour flight from Mexico," said Clough.
"Theo is not down to start against Sheffield Wednesday."
Jake Buxton could be on the bench today.
The defender has been out for nine weeks with a knee injury.
"Jake has had a good week's training," said Clough.
"He is pencilled in for an Under-21 fixture next week but Jimmy O'Connor has slightly tweaked his knee in training and so Jake might be forced back on the bench."