Ciaran Clark wary of 'tough guy' Edin Dzeko

The Aston Villa centre back is wary of the threat posed by the Bosnia captain, who is currently plying his trade with Roma

Ciaran Clark says that Edin Dzeko will be a “tough guy to play against” when the Republic of Ireland face Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Euro 2016 play-offs.

The Boys in Green contest the first leg in Zenica on November 13 before hosting Mehmed Bazdarevic’s men in Dublin three days later and Clark, who has faced Dzeko in the Premier League, is aware of the challenge that awaits.

“I’ve played against him before. He’s obviously a big, physical man, he’s great with the ball at his feet and he’s a great finisher as well so he’s a tough guy to play against,” the Aston Villa defender told reporters in Dublin, “but I’m sure they’ve got a lot of great players playing for them and they’ll be a tough opposition.”

Seamus Coleman is another Irish player who has a degree of insight into he Bosnian team, playing alongside Muhamed Besic at Everton, and the Donegal native is keen to secure “bragging rights” over his team-mate.

“[Besic] is a great player,” said the former Sligo Rovers defender. “He’s been injured now since early in the season so he’s just back from injury but he’s a tough-tackling midfielder and he’s also very good on the ball. He’s a player that they’ll be happy to have back.

“We’ll have to keep an eye on him but hopefully I get the bragging rights after the weekend.”

After missing out on Ireland’s Euro 2012 campaign, Coleman is as hungry as ever to compete in the European Championship and admits that he must assume more of a leadership role in the team.

“We’re not babies anymore, we’re not just in the squad. We’ve been in it a few years now and a few lads have left already – the Richard Dunnes and the Damien Duffs – but there’s still a couple of lads there that we’re learning from,” the 27-year-old said.

“I suppose they can’t go on forever and it’ll be up to us to step up and be the senior players in the next couple of years. No better way to start it than in the summer.”

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