McCarthy keen to stay in frame
James McCarthy has set his sights on becoming a Republic of Ireland regular following his full debut.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 31/03/11 10:01am
James McCarthy has set his sights on establishing himself in the Republic of Ireland squad after being his first international start.
After much speculation over his international allegiance, the Glasgow-born youngster finally cemented his status as an Ireland player on Saturday, coming off the bench for his first competitive appearance in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia.
Coach Giovanni Trapattoni then handed the Wigan midfielder his full debut in Tuesday night's friendly against Uruguay and the 20-year-old played 66 minutes in the 3-2 defeat.
And McCarthy is eager to earn another chance to impress when the Republic face Northern Ireland and Scotland in the Carling Nations Cup in May.
"It was great to get a run-out," he said. "It's a dream come true to play for your country and get some game-time under your belt.
"It was a bit frustrating not getting on the ball as much as I would have liked to, but these things happen.
"They had two sitting midfield players and it was really tight in there trying to get on the ball.
"But I will take positives from it. It's my first proper start and I need to just try to kick on from it.
"It's a team game and it's all about working hard for the team and trying to get on the ball. It didn't happen, but hopefully I can get into the squad next time and try to get some game-time under my belt again."
McCarthy was asked to provide support to lone striker Shane Long in a 4-2-3-1 formation and insists he would be happy to play anywhere for his country.
Although Trapattoni admits he will return to 4-4-2 when the Euro qualifying campaign resumes in Macedonia on 4th June, the Italian wants his squad to be more flexible and could look at his options again in those upcoming Carling Nations Cup fixtures.
"I'll take anywhere, to be honest, to just get into the starting 11," McCarthy added. "I am happy to just play.
"It's just about getting my head down now at club level and hopefully I can get into the Ireland squad for the summer."