Wednesday 13 December 2017

Dublin Don Rooney aims to make impact

Adam Rooney
Adam Rooney

A player who turns 29 on his next birthday can certainly not be described as the new kid on the block for Irish football.

But Scottish-based striker Adam Rooney hopes that, at last, he will get his chance at senior international level and ease the worries of Martin O'Neill when it comes to his forward positions.

The lack of options up front for Ireland is underlined by the revelation by O'Neill that Wolves forward Joe Mason, a much-vaunted former U21 cap, has effectively backed away from international football, odd behaviour for a player who is struggling to get into the side at a mid-table English second tier club.

Rooney, with a healthy return of six goals from 15 games for Aberdeen this season, has been in the squad before but has yet to get a cap, something he hopes will change this week when Georgia come to town.

"It's obviously nice and good for the confidence that you are there and thereabouts because everyone wants to play for their country. I'm no different. It would be great if it would happen at some stage," says the 28-year-old, previously named in the squad by O'Neill for the March friendly games, only for injury to intervene, a case of terrible timing for the striker who was on a run of scoring in eight successive games for his club.

"I'd obviously been around a little bit here and there, on the radar, and at that time I think every other striker from Ireland was injured. I think James (McClean) ended up playing up front because we were that short of numbers.

"Now, I just have to do my best in training, show what I'm about and if I can get my chance, great," says the former underage cap, keen to rejoin former U21 team-mates on the field with the senior side.

"Ireland wasn't really on my mind before until last season," he says, aware that his 20 goals for the Dons last term put him under the spotlight.

"I didn't think I was close enough before but getting the call last season gave me that boost and I was in good form. I was hoping to maybe push and give him (O'Neill) something to think about.

The injury came at the worst possible time and again this season I've started the season well and wanted to impress."

Rooney reveals that he watched the action at Euro 2016 from a pub in Portugal while on holiday, himself and his Dons team-mates on a short break due to Europa League duty. Now, the aim is to play his way into the manager's plans for Russia 2018.

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