Harry Arter: I know I'm fighting for one of the final places in Martin O'Neill's 23
Bournemouth’s Harry Arter is desperate to prove he is worthy of a place in the Republic of Ireland squad for this summer’s Euro 2016 finals, after lamenting the bad luck that has undermined his hopes of kick-starting his international career.
Arter turned down the temptation to try and force his way into the England squad for Euro 2016 after committing his future to Ireland, yet injuries have undermined his hopes of making his mark in O’Neill’s team so far.
After battling back from his latest fitness concern that threatened his Euro 2016, Arter played in the final couple of matches in Bournemouth’s season and he hopes he get a chance to claim a place in the 23-man panel after he made the cut for O’Neill’s extended squad last week.
“The Achilles injury I had a few weeks back was a big worry and we were not sure if I needed surgery, but an injection helped the problem and it means I still have a chance to get into the Ireland squad for the Euros,” Arter told Independent.ie.
“I flew over to Dublin for the last round of friendly matches even though I could hardly walk on the leg. I just hoped that I would wake up in the team hotel on the first morning of training and there would have been at miraculous recovery.
“The Bournemouth lads that were not involved in international matches headed off on a trip to Dubai as we had a break in the Premier League, but I skipped the trip to show how much I wanted to be a part of the Ireland squad.
“In the end, I couldn’t play. It was a big disappointment, as I knew it could have been a last big chance to try and get into the Euro 2016 squad.
“I don’t need to be told that I am fighting to get one of the last places in the final 23. Plenty of players assured of their places and rightly so because they were crucial in getting us to Euro 2016 and the rest of us are just pushing to make the final cut.
“Hopefully the manager and his staff appreciate that I am doing everything I can to be fully fit for this summer.”
Arter has made just one appearance for Ireland’s senior team and even if that display against England last summer, he was less than fully fit.
“I seem to have had little injuries every time Ireland games comes around,” he continues.
“Even when I made my debut last summer, I was struggling with a groin problem ahead of the game and it was a case of strapping it up as tightly as possible and hope I wouldn’t feel it when I played.
“It was not ideal, but it was England at the Aviva Stadium and my first international cap was there for the taking. I had to do everything to play in that game.
“Then I had a problem that ruled me out of the first few months of last season and now this Achilles injury is troubling me, but I have played 20 successive games this season and I wouldn’t want to be seen as a player who struggles with injuries.
“I am not that kind of player, but the little injuries I have had just all seem to come around when Ireland matches are scheduled.”