herald

Monday 15 October 2018

'Ireland cap is the pinnacle' says Burke

Graham Burke during a Republic of Ireland press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Graham Burke during a Republic of Ireland press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

From a Dublin derby at Dalymount Park to clashing with the likes of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann at a sold-out Stade de France is some journey for Graham Burke to make in the space of a week.

And while the Shamrock Rovers man already feels so proud of the senior cap won away to France on Monday that he's planning to tell his grandchildren about it, the 24-year-old says his exposure to the international stage has shown him that he's capable of playing at this level.

The most recent home-based strikers to play at senior international level (Glen Crowe and Jason Byrne) both got as far as a second cap, but no further. The fact that Burke has been omitted from the Rovers squad for tonight's game against Dundalk suggests that he will play some part against the USA tomorrow.

Burke doesn't yet feel such a part of things that he can push James McClean away and take a free-kick when the opportunity arose in Paris.

"I got a bit bullied there, I did. I think I was going to turn around and say, 'here James, I'm going to take this'," he says.

"I would have fancied my chances. More than likely I would have put it in the box, but I don't think I was turning around to James McClean and saying it."

Burke, though, has adapted well.

"I back my ability, I class myself as a footballing player, a technical player, being able to play one-touch and two-touch. Being out there, seeing I can do this, I can play, I think I can play at this level," he says.

"If you're playing very well it doesn't matter what level you're playing. If he (O'Neill) can see you have the ability, I have the chance now to show him that I have that and make him think 'this kid can play and has ability'.

"For someone to get a senior cap while playing in the League of Ireland is brilliant. It's not just for me, it's for every other player in the league to see that if you're doing well, it's achievable. I probably won't be the last player to do it, but it shows that it can be done.

"This is the pinnacle for a player, you want to go out and represent your country, it's an unbelievable feeling."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News