David McGoldrick fired up for Ireland’s crunch qualifiers – but are you worried?
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Ipswich Town front man David McGoldrick is keen to make up for lost time on the international scene.
The 29-year-old discovered he was eligible to represent the Republic of Ireland in 2014 after investigation into his family tree, then promptly produced two assists on an eye-catching debut – a 4-1 home win over the USA.
Two years of injury frustration and bad timing have limited the silky striker to just five further caps since then, but he’s always remained in Martin O’Neill’s thinking and could play a key role in two crunch World Cup qualifiers over the coming four days.
There’s a home game against Moldova tomorrow night (7.45pm), then it’s Wales, in Cardiff, on Monday as The Boys in Green battle to secure second spot in Group D and a place at next year’s tournament in Russia.
“Every footballer wants to play at the top and playing for your country is the pinnacle,” said Nottingham-born McGoldrick, who has rediscovered his talismanic form for the Blues at the start of this campaign – scoring six goals and providing three assists in 10 outings.
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“My debut was great; the atmosphere, playing with Premier League players – hopefully there will be more days like that for me. I don’t want it to be a one off. I want to show the country and show everybody what I can do. I’m sure that will happen.”
Having been passed fit after a tight hamstring forced him off during Town’s 3-1 home defeat to Bristol City last weekend, he added: “These are two tough games, two massive games, two of our biggest games in a long time. And we go into the games with confidence.”
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The former Southampton and Nottingham Forest man narrowly missed the cut for the European Championship squad last summer having only just returned to fitness at the end of the campaign. More recently, the birth of his fourth child meant he couldn’t join up with the squad for last month’s games against Georgia and Serbia.
“We was meant to meet up on the Sunday, but the baby came on the Sunday night,” he said. “I had been due to meet up with the squad late, but then my fiancé had a health scare. I spoke to Martin O’Neill and he was very understanding.
“I know people think football is life or death, but it’s just a job at the end of the day. It’s one we love doing and are fortunate to do, don’t get me wrong, but there are much more important things in the world.”
Asked if next year represented his last shot at playing at a World Cup, he replied: “Who knows? Murph (Daryl Murphy) is 34 and he’s still going, Jonny Walters is that age and he’s still going. You never know what the future holds, but you have to take every chance as if it’s your last chance.”
Ireland’s all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane retired from international football last summer, while veteran striker Kevin Doyle retired on medical advice last week following repeated concussions.
McGoldrick faces striker competition from ex-Town team-mate Daryl Murphy (Nottingham Forest, 34), Shane Long (Southampton, 30), Sean Maguire (Preston, 23), Aiden O’Brien (Millwall, 24) and Scott Hogan (Aston Villa, 25), the latter having recently declared his Irish citizenship.
“I know I’ve got to be fit and firing if I’m going to be selected because there are a few strikers coming through,” added the Blues striker.