'I look up to McClean' says U21 ace Curtis
On a big night for Irish football, Ronan Curtis has his own ideas of how to eventually join the top table featuring his fellow Deryman James McClean.
The Derry City winger was well on his way to joining McClean as the club's latest export in August when Swedish outfit Ostersunds agreed a fee to sign him. Curtis made the trip over with the best of intentions only to discover the personal terms on offer didn't make the move viable.
He's returned to Scandinavia for Ireland's latest European Championship qualifier against Norway this evening with his ambitions unchanged. At 21, Curtis has time on his side and likely being the only home-based player in Noel King's side means there will always be curious onlookers.
"I still want to go across the water at the right time. It doesn't have to be a UK club as I wouldn't mind playing around Europe. I think Ostersunds are still interested but I'll look at my options if they come up," said the winger. Once this evening's game in Drammen concludes, the Ireland squad will dash back to their hotel to watch the second half of the World Cup play-off against Denmark.
Given his career path, it is inevitable the eyes of Curtis will be trained on one particular Ireland player. "James McClean is someone I look up," he admitted. "We play in the same position and being close friends with his brother Patrick means I get to chat with him sometimes.
"If I can push on and break into the senior Ireland team like James, it would be brilliant. Playing for Ireland's U-21s can only help me get there."