David McGoldrick: It’s going to be a real honour making my Republic of Ireland debut

David McGoldrick

David McGoldrick - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town striker David McGoldrick says it will be a ‘real honour’ to make his debut for the Republic of Ireland in tonight’s friendly against the USA at the Aviva Stadium.

Irish boss Martin O’Neill has announced that McGoldrick and fellow new call-up Cyrus Christie (Derby County) will both start.

The paperwork relating to the duo’s international qualification was completed earlier in the month and they joined up with the squad for the first time last week. Both were unused subs in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland on Friday.

O’Neill, who has revealed McGoldrick will operate in a ‘number 10’ role, said: “It’s a big statement for me to make but I think he can be very good for us.”

In an interview with the Irish Independent, McGoldrick said: “Martin has told me to just be myself, that I’m here for a reason and not to be intimidated.

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“It means a lot to me, because I’ve been working hard to get it over the line. It’s going to be a real honour.”

It was a call to Blues boss Mick McCarthy from Scotland manager Gordon Strachan enquiring about any Scottish links which led to McGoldrick exploring the possibility of playing for Ireland.

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“When Mick got that call, I told him that I’d no Scottish roots but that I knew I had some Irish,” said McGoldrick. “As soon as I told him that, it seemed to set the ball rolling.

“From the very start, he was pulling me in to his office every so often, asking me for an update.

“He kept telling me ‘get it over the line, you’ll love the Irish set-up and it’ll be a great experience for you’.

“He’s always talking about how much he loved his time with Ireland and I’ve no doubt the first person I’ll speak to when I get back to the club after this will be Mick, asking how I got on.

“I mean I took it as a big compliment that Gordon Strachan was asking about me, but playing for Scotland never entered my head.”

Adopted McGoldrick says it took a while for the documentation establishing his qualification via his biological family to be collated.

“It was going on for a long time,” he said. “[FAI employee] Mary [O’Brien] was chasing everything down, all the paperwork I’d been sending over with my family history.

“Even digging up stuff I didn’t know about. If I was left to do it on my own, I don’t think I’d have been able to get to the bottom of it.

“It was a huge relief when the passport came through because, at different points, I was thinking it wasn’t going to happen.”

O’Neill has also confirmed that McGoldrick’s Ipswich strike partner Daryl Murphy will play some part in tonight’s game, winning his 14th cap against Jurgen Klinsmann’s side having also been an unused sub against Scotland.

Elsewhere, Christophe Berra – also an unused sub in last Friday’s game – will hope to win his 29th cap when the Scots take on England in a friendly at Celtic Park.

Tommy Smith is the only other senior Town player away on international duty. His New Zealand side take on Thailand tomorrow in Bangkok.

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