(Credit: Andy McDonnell)
Paul McShane insists that he will forever make himself available for his country, even if it means travelling the length and breadth of the globe.
Several players are in international exile following disputes with manager Giovanni Trapattoni and former regimes.
Everton’s Darron Gibson pulled out of last month’s squad because he isn’t ‘over’ Euro 2012 and wasn’t included this week’s games against Germany and Faroe Islands, while long-term absentees include Stephen Ireland and Andy Reid.
Indeed Aston Villa’s Ciarán Clark was another to have been given the cold shoulder by Trap in recent weeks, after the defender aired his own grievances about the international set-up. A defensive injury epidemic, however, saw him brought into the squad yesterday.
Yet McShane, who has made 27 appearances for Ireland, has vowed to always make himself available.
“It’s just the way I am, I’ll never turn my back on it," he said. “I’ll never quit, I’ll always be there and I’ll always put myself there and always be available for when the chance comes. I’m available when called upon. I’ll travel to Kazakhstan, I’ll travel to China, I don’t mind really, it’s just great to be part of this setup. I know the kids out there would cut their right arm off to be a part of it. I’m just happy to be in the squad.”
And with a lengthy injury list - first choice central defensive partners Sean St Ledger and Richard Dunne are both absent this week -McShane is hopeful of a starting spot against Germany at the Aviva stadium on Friday night.
Trapattoni has already hinted at playing regular right-back John O’Shea in the centre with Darren O’Dea, freeing up a place in the defence. McShane played there in the Euro 2012 build-up game against Bosnia and Herzegovina and he says he is ‘hopeful of getting the nod’.
“I'm available and I'll be very happy if I get the nod. [With injuries] things can change very quickly. The mood is good, it's always good. We've a good set of lads here. The mood had been pretty good.”
“Everyone was disappointed after the Euros. But the two wins (Oman and Kazakhstan) are a good thing for us, hopefully we can keep going and continue it into the Germany game.
But can the experience of facing top sides such as Spain, Italy and Croatia benefit the Irish heading into the Germany game? “The Euros would have given us some good experience against the top teams so we can definitely take that into the Germany game. They’re a great side and they have some great players but you can never write us off, so we’ll always have a chance.”
Joachim Low’s outfit are currently second in the Fifa World Rankings and are massive favourites to top the group after opening their campaign with wins over the Faroe Islands and Austria last month. Facing such quality opposition is something McShane relishes, though.
“You want to be playing against the best players all the time. It is a step up but that’s what you want to do in your career, you want to push yourself and always test yourself against the best players.
“You can’t write us off, we’ve always got a chance, it’s a game of football and anything can happen. I know they’re number two, they’re a great side….all the stats are up against us but the underdog always has his day and hopefully we can get something on Friday. “