Defender Paul McShane reflects on making the 400th appearance of his club career in Tuesday night’s game against his former side Hull City and looks ahead to Saturday’s match at the Stadium of Light, in his latest interview...
“I didn’t know that it [his 400th appearance] was coming up. I only saw it after the game, so it was a nice surprise,” said McShane, who wasn’t aware that Dale’s midweek League One fixture against Hull City marked the special milestone.
“It’s nice to get to that number. I’m lucky to have played that many games. I wish it was more - you’re always wanting more, but it’s a good milestone to reach and I’m happy about it.
“When I started out, I never really had a number in my head - I just wanted to play and reach the highest level I could possibly get to.
“Like I said, I never really had a number of games in my head but I think as time goes on people talk a lot about numbers and yes, it’s nice. Looking back, it has been a big rollercoaster with a lot ups and downs but it’s a hell of a journey that I’ve been on so far.
“I could never put my finger on one moment, because you have different moments throughout your career. You always have big games at certain times of your career but the ones that stick in my head are probably winning promotion with Hull City back to the Premier League.
“I was on a journey at that particular time where I got relegated with Hull and a lot of stuff happened at the club where my future was 50/50, but I stuck it out and I always wanted to get the club promoted back to the Premier League. To get promoted on the final day of that season was definitely a special moment.
“That one sticks in my head, as does playing in the FA Cup final - that was a great day.
“Another one is my international debut for Ireland. That was a big day for myself and my family. You always want to play for your country. I played against the Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road and ended up getting Man of the Match on my debut, so that was a big day. I always remember the atmosphere in the stadium and the roar from the crowd when my name got mentioned in the stadium for winning Man of the Match. There are other memories, but those are the fancy ones, as you say.
“With Hull being a former club, the milestone fell quite nicely. Although I didn’t know about it until afterwards, I would have liked to have marked it with a win, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a game, personally, where I thought we might have got a point from it, but we conceded two soft goals, so it was a bit disappointing in the end. After seeing I’d made my 400th club career appearance in that game, it was bitter sweet.”
McShane believes it’s important that Dale take the levels of performance seen on Tuesday night into the remainder of the season.
“It just goes to show that we can mix it with the better teams in this league. We need to find that level of performance in every single game that we play. I thought we controlled the game pretty well on Tuesday night.
“We had the majority of the ball and we restricted them to very few chances, although we didn’t create that many chances ourselves. The work rate from the lads was there and I thought we executed the game plan quite well.
“Like I said, we need to show that level of performance in every game, not just every now and again against Hull City away in a big stadium. I always feel like they’re the easy games to play in. The motivation is there - when you turn up to a big stadium and you turn up to the so called ‘bigger’ teams in the league, it’s easier to get yourself up for those games. It’s the games where you’re playing against the teams around you - those are the ones that will define your season, so we need to bring that performance in every single game.”
He continued: “The atmosphere around the training ground is ok at the minute. If I was to say that the atmosphere is absolutely outstanding, then that would be worrying when we’ve won one game in however many.
“The lads are focused on turning things around and getting things right. That can only be done on a daily basis by giving 100-percent in training and getting ready for the next game - that’s all you can do. We can sit here and speculate but we have to act now and we need everyone to pull their sleeves up and step up to the plate and give everything that they’ve got from now until the end of the season. It always starts with the next game and that’s all you can do.
“Saturday is another opportunity. I don’t think there’s a huge gap in quality in this league, I think it’s finding that consistency. As we’ve shown in the past, we can mix it with the so called ‘bigger’ clubs in the league so we’ve got to go there [Sunderland] and try to get a result from the game.
“The lads do have that belief that we can do that and it’s just doing it now. We can do as much talking as we like but we need to start acting now. You get judged on your actions. We’ll prepare today and tomorrow [Thursday and Friday] and get as ready as we possibly can be, but we need everybody to turn up on the day. There’s definitely no room for passengers in the games that we’ve got remaining. Everyone has got to step up to the plate.”
Watch Paul McShane’s 15 minute interview in full on iFollow Dale.