McCarthy eyes regular Republic role

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 June 4, 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.”