Richie Towell: I may have to go abroad to play for Republic of Ireland
RICHIE Towell was without a club the last time he wore the green shirt, in an U21 international against Turkey back in 2011.
And the talented Dubliner, currently starring for Premier Division leaders Dundallk, fears that he can only rejoin his former underage team-mates like Robbie Brady, Seamus Coleman and Jeff Hendrick in the senior squad if he is attached to a foreign club.
Towell's recent form - 10 goals from midfield in the last eight games - was given due recognition as the ex-Celtic man was named as April's player of the month by the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers Association, his third such award.
He still has big ambitions for 2015 as Towell speaks honestly about the hunger than drives the Dundalk squad in their bid to retain the league title, while a stab at the Champions League is also on the agenda. This week, he saw his old pal Adam Rooney earn a call-up to the senior Ireland squad, and Towell admits that he will only do the same if he plays abroad.
"I had the honour of playing from the U15s to U21 and it was a great privilege for me and my family. But the next step would obviously be to play full senior international and it's always something that I have dreamed of as a little boy and I'm always ambitious that I could go and do that," says Towell.
"I was only talking to Adam Rooney yesterday, he's delighted that he's been called up. He's in great form for Aberdeen and is a great lad, he's scoring a lot of goals so it shows that if you do put performances in, the manager will have a look at you. It's a great thing," added Towell.
"There are how many players playing in the international side that used to play in the league but never got a call up but as soon as they went to England the call up came?
"It seems like you have to leave but you never know what can happen in the future.
"It would be great to see someone in our league get the call up, it would raise the profile of the league but obviously the manager has a tough decision as there's a lot of good players playing in England at a very high standard," says Towell, whose focus for this week is on tonight's game with Derry City, Dundalk aiming to stretch their lead.
"If someone had told you after the first round of games that you'd be 10 points ahead of Pats you would have snapped their arm off," says Towell.
"It's a great thing, and I think we're eight ahead of Shamrock Rovers as well. We're four ahead of Cork with a game in hand. We've been in great form and we're unbeaten so far and that's a hard thing to do in this league.
"But we're a very hungry side, We never get complacent. we're always working hard."