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Tuesday 22 August 2017

Trap call is on Ward's wish list at Seagulls

ANSWERING Ireland's call is still on the agenda for Stephen Ward as the defender has not given up hopes of winning back his place in the Irish squad, writes AIDAN FITZMAURICE.

Ward has watched his stock fall and rise as he went from being one of the first names on the teamsheet handed in by Giovanni Trapattoni – Ward played in 15 of Ireland's 17 games between his debut against Northern Ireland and the final game of Euro 2012, against Italy.

After the debacle in Poland he stayed in the picture, adding further caps against Kazakhstan (where his assist set up that vital winner for Kevin Doyle), Germany and Greece and then made it into the squad for the February friendly with Poland. But being benched for that clash with Poland was his last involvement as Ward has not even been in the squads for the last seven games, with Marc Wilson now established as first-choice left back.

"It's still my intention to get back in there," he says. "This is a fresh start for me at Brighton and I can start enjoying my football again. If I can do that then I hope I'd have a chance of getting back into the Irish squad again.

"For a couple of years there, Wolves was a great place to be and we had a few players in the Ireland squad but the last two years have seen a lot of doom and gloom around, and I think the Ireland manager feels that affects people psychologically.

"Playing for Ireland again is not up to me, but if I can play well for Brighton and catch the eye, I will have a chance. I loved being involved with Ireland from the first time I came into the squad.

"You can't get too upset about it when you're not involved, we are all grown men. I am big and strong enough to deal with it but hopefully the Brighton move can be a real fresh start for me."

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