Reunion with old pal Adam Lallana on cards for David McGoldrick
A FRIENDSHIP with players like Adam Lallana has only added to the sense of excitement for Ireland man David McGoldrick ahead of Sunday's friendly clash with England.
The Ipswich Town man is still an unknown quantity as far as the Ireland supporters are concerned as he has played just once for the Republic.
Injury has prevented the attacker from playing much football, for club or country, as he's appeared just once since February, as a sub for Ipswich in their playoff semi-final defeat to Norwich.
But the 27-year-old has come through his injury problems and also survived Martin O'Neill's cull from his provisional squad to earn a place in the panel as he attempts to use the England game to stake his claim for a competitive debut.
And he will also use the England match to renew acquaintances from his time as a Saint (2005-09), in between spells with Notts County and Nottingham Forest.
"I played with Adam Llalana, Theo Walcott and Ryan Bertrand at Southampton," says McGoldrick.
"I'm good mates with Adam so it will be a good experience to get some minutes or to be just involved.
"It's going to be a massive game for all concerned. I think it's a sell-out and being involved in these type of games are the ones that you can talk about to your grandkids later on in your life. I would love to be a part of it is some kind of way."
His presence in Dublin is a sign of his eagerness to play despite his injury woes and also the regard that O'Neill has for the player who sparked on his debut, against the USA last year, but then missed the Poland game in March due to that injury.
"Obviously I don't know about sharpness but my fitness is good and I've had a lot of training. I just want to get back playing again. They've given me the belief that I am ready," McGoldrick says.
"I was training obviously before the play-offs, then I got a few minutes against Norwich and have been working hard since then. I'm glad to be here. I've been ticking over the last few weeks.
"In terms of sharpness, you won't know until you get out there and in a position to test that. But I feel good in training and now ready to kick on.
"I missed the squad before for the last game when my thigh wasn't ready. Obviously I hadn't played much in three months now so it's good to involved with the lads and getting going again."
"Like I said the last time, when I was in for the games against Scotland and the USA, these are the games you want to play in. It's a big match, it's good to train when you're here but I can do something and I'll give it my best shot.
"There are some top strikers, top players in the squad here so I'll work hard and if I catch the gaffer's eye, I might get a chance, if not, I've got two good weeks' training."
McGoldrick was a key figure for Ipswich early in the season but they had to manage without him in that vital run-in from February through to May, when their proud promotion bid ended in defeat (4-2 on aggregate) to Norwich.
"Yeah, it was a tough time," he confesses, McGoldrick taking time out to praise the impact of team-mate with club and country, Daryl Murphy.
"Obviously missing out on the lead up to the play-offs, you want to be involved, that's what you're working for all season.
"Daryl was on fire, he was the Championship player of the year for me, even if they didn't give it to him. He was so important to our season, scoring goals and assists."