Derby ace Green happy with 'debut' as he attempts to catch Trap's attention
IT'S more than 10 years since a footballer swapped the white shirt of Derby County for the green one of Ireland.
But new recruit Paul Green hopes that he did enough in last night's training game between the Ireland senior team and the home-based U23 squad to keep his place in the panel for next week's senior internationals against Paraguay and Algeria.
Rory Delap, at home to Greece in April 2000, was the last Derby County man to win a senior cap for the Republic but that's now the aim for Green.
"I know that most of the other Derby players are probably off on a beach somewhere and here I am, in the rain of Dublin," Green told the Evening Herald after last night's game, his first taste of international football at the age of 27.
"It can be a bit scary coming into a new situation like international football but the players and the staff made me feel very welcome and I think I fitted right into the squad. I was very excited about coming over once I got the call from the FAI and it was a real privilege to play for the team.
"I enjoyed the game last night. It was good to get out and play. You can do all the work you want in training but nothing beats playing. I know it was only a training match and the result won't count for anything, but I still enjoyed the experience and I hope I get another chance in the games next week.
"I know there is a lot of competition in midfield with Ireland, and there are a lot of good players, Premier League players, ahead of me, but I think I did my cause no harm with that game last night. I'll train again with the squad for the rest of the week and hope that I'm good enough to be asked to stick around for the matches next week," he added.
"For now, I feel privileged to be here in the training camp but I am hungry, I am ambitious and I want to do well. I want to win caps, so I will work hard to try and make that happen," said Green, who qualifies through a Mayo-born grandparent.
Green had a busy season with Derby last term, playing 37 games. Perhaps it was a case of tiredness after a long season, or a dose of sea legs as the former Doncaster Rovers man made it to Dublin on Monday by ferry, for fears that his flight could be grounded by volcanic ash-related problems, but Green was slow to start in the game, with his central midfield partner Keith Fahey also suffering the same fate.
They grew into it in the second half and Green showed what he's made of with a strong run from midfield which was only ended by an equally strong challenge from Galway United man Stephen O'Donnell.
Fitting, maybe, as he was a late developer in the game, working his way up through the ranks at Doncaster before a move to Derby saw him make more progress, the end result a call from Ireland. Recent history shows that good things come to those who wait, like Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews, who both treaded water in the lower reaches of the English club scene (Andrews famously playing in the fourth division) before reaching the peak of a World Cup play-off in Paris, and those two players are the models for Green.
"They are two great players, they have done well in their careers, they deserve their place in the Ireland team and it shows you never know what can happen, if you wait long enough and work hard enough," he added.