INTERNATIONAL progress may have to wait for Ireland cap Alex Pearce as he bides his time in the queue for a defensive berth.
But the 26-year-old is confident that his club career can now move up a level following his decision to end his 12-year stay at Reading and join Derby County. A summer of transfer speculation awaits players like James McClean, David Forde and Paul McShane but the transfer is already a done deal for Pearce, who agreed a three-year deal with the Rams earlier this week, and seeing as Derby lads Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh regularly feature in Ireland squads and even the team, the life of a Ram could suit Pearce.
"The [Ireland] manager watches everyone, watches every player's progression at every club. He'll be watching my - and all the other players at Derby - progression very closely," says Pearce.
"It's down to players like myself to perform well when given the opportunity. It's down to us as players, our job is just to perform well on the training pitch and try and impress the manager. Whoever the manager picks, all the players will be behind them because the bigger picture is getting ourselves to France. We've got to take care of business on Saturday," added Pearce, who admits it was a wrench to leave Reading after over a decade there.
"I have been at Reading for a long time, since I was 12 years old, almost half my life, but I felt it was time for a change and a fresh challenge for myself," he says. "The Derby thing came about quite quickly after the season finished and now I am looking forward to joining a special club and being part of a journey, of getting to the Premier League."