Robbie Keane is full of admiration for Sunderland's Irish giant Niall Quinn.
Striker Quinn, now 36, is a legend at the Stadium of Light and for the Republic where he scored a record 21 goals in 91 international appearances.
He has been a huge influence on the career on Robbie, still just 22, who is well on the way to Quinn's Irish record with 14 goals to his name already.
They are unlikely to face each other on Sunday though as Quinn looks set to miss out with a recurring back injury
"Niall is someone I respect very highly," said Robbie. "When I first went into the international scene Niall was always there, always had time for me and gave me a helping hand in every possible way he could.
"He's a great lad as well, not just on the pitch, but off it as well.
"He's a tremendous bloke and a friend, even now I could pick up the phone at any time and talk to him.
"Niall's a great player to play with, a big lad and I always liked playing around him. He's always done well for me in my international career and been tremendous for Ireland. I'll always have total and utter respect for him."
Meanwhile, Robbie said it was vital we hit back straight away after Wednesday's Worthington Cup defeat at Burnley.
"We need to bounce back," he insisted. "And we've got the squad and players to do it.
"It was nice to see a few players return at Burnley, obviously a shame about the result, but that's gone now and hopefully we can change it around at Sunderland.
"They'll be strong. They work hard for each other as all of Howard Wilkinson's sides do.
"It will be tough and they are looking for points to get out of the bottom half. But we should be looking forward to it as well to get back on track again."