DARREN O'DEA received an assurance from Giovanni Trapattoni about his international future before the Dubliner agreed to join Toronto.
O'Dea, who travelled to Euro 2012 but was one of seven players who did not play, was out of contract with Celtic and faced an uncertain future. Despite being linked with a number of Championship teams, the former Home Farm man has decided to make a brave move and follow Robbie Keane -- and also former international Andy O'Brien -- in crossing the Atlantic, as he has signed a contract with Toronto.
Managed by former England man Paul Mariner, Toronto -- who play in the American-dominated MLS -- had the financial muscle to bring in O'Dea and the player says that while moving to the MLS is seen as a gamble in terms of his international future, he is confident it's the right move.
"I spoke to Trapattoni about it and he was fine about me going there, he said it was a good thing to do," O'Dea told the Herald today.
"His only concern was in terms of the international team and me being released for games and being able to travel. I spoke to the club about it before I signed and they were happy for me to carry on playing for Ireland.
"It does mean more travelling but players do this all the time -- play for clubs in the MLS and go back to Europe to play for their countries.
"In fact they were very encouraging, they feel it reflects well on the club to have international players in the squad. So I will be over for the Serbia game and hopefully be in the squad and maybe the team for the Kazakhstan qualifier next month.
"No matter what happens, once I am in the squad and fit I will be on a plane over to Ireland for the games. My Ireland career is so important to me and it's not something I want to give up on in any way," added O'Dea.
The 25-year-old has had some frustrating times at club level in the last two seasons. Chances at Celtic were limited and he had to move south for loan spells, spending time with Reading, Ipswich and Leeds United and at the end of last season Celtic agreed to O'Dea's wishes and allowed him to leave on a free transfer.
He didn't get a chance to shine at Euro 2012 but did have suitors in terms of interested clubs, but Toronto came out on top.
"I was speaking to a lot of clubs over the last while and I knew that I had to make the right decision and not rush into anything, but I have signed for Toronto now," he says.
"I only signed last night. I will go over there on Sunday; my first game will be on the following Saturday. I will have one game with them and then fly back over here for the Ireland game in Serbia.
"I'm looking forward to it. It's a big move but it's a challenge for me and I think it's the right thing to do.
"I don't think people in Ireland and Britain realise just how good the MLS is and where that league is going. I think it's going to explode. The facilities over there are top class, the investment into the game is huge and it's going places.
"Robbie Keane going there was a big deal.
"Now you have Andy O'Brien heading out there too as he joined Vancouver Whitecaps in the last few days, so it's a good league with good players in it and I wanted to be part of it," added O'Dea.
The defender says he maintained his fitness over the summer break after a disappointing summer in Poland.
"It was disappointing not to play in Poland, but a player like myself isn't a game-changing player, you're not going to bring on a centre-half to rescue a game, so I had to be patient," he says.
"Sean and Richard did well in the game but we will see what happens in the new campaign."