Jayson Molumby has saluted Republic of Ireland talisman Shane Duffy for fighting his way back to prominence after a tough year on and off the pitch.
The 29-year-old defender, who lost his father in May last year and then endured a difficult loan spell at Celtic, has started all three Premier League games for his parent club Brighton so far this season and met up with his international colleagues ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier in Portugal brimming with confidence once again.
Duffy has admitted how much of a toll that experience took on him and Seagulls midfielder Molumby, who last week joined West Brom for the rest of this season, is delighted to see him back to his best.
He said: “Since I was a young lad at Brighton, Duffs has been the big guy to look up to for all us Irish lads. He was always brilliant with us.
“To see him back, he looks really comfortable and really happy and I think he is in a good place at the moment. I’m absolutely delighted for him as he’s a great guy and a real role model for a lot of us.
“He is massive and crucial when he’s at his best. He brings experience to this level and has put in some fantastic performances over the last four or five years for Ireland. He’s absolutely massive.”
Ireland are pointless after their opening two Group A fixtures, losing in Serbia and, embarrassingly, at home to Luxembourg, and Molumby knows Stephen Kenny’s largely inexperienced side has no margin for error against the Portuguese in Faro and Azerbaijan and the Serbs in Dublin over the next week.
The 22-year-old said: “We know our situation and we know that winning at the moment is quite pivotal, so hopefully we can get the results in the next week or two.”