Wednesday 18 October 2017

Man-of-the-match Dunne ready for Ireland's call after a well-earned rest

Richard Dunne
Richard Dunne
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

RICHARD DUNNE has confirmed that he will be still be available to Martin O'Neill when Ireland kick off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in September after inspiring QPR to promotion in dramatic circumstances at Wembley.

The Dubliner was outstanding in their play-off victory over Derby County and collected the man-of-the-match award.

Ironically, Derby captain Richard Keogh, whose mistake gave Bobby Zamora the chance to score the dramatic winner, is viewed by O'Neill as a possible option for centre-half as he looks to the future.

RESTED

Dunne, who turns 35 in September, was rested for March's friendly with Serbia and opted out of this summer's internationals to rest after a long season.

However, he has reaffirmed that he wants to be considered when the serious business begins with a match against Georgia on September 7.

"I'd love to be included," said Dunne, speaking after Saturday's win.

"I'd love to play again. We'll just see how it goes over the summer and see what the manager decides. I spoke to Martin O'Neill before the Serbia friendly so he knows the situation.

"Basically I needed a rest. Ireland play until June 10 and, after a year out, I've played 49 games, which I think is a good achievement. Another four games would be too much."

Dunne is confident that he's got the energy to play at the highest level for another campaign.

By making 30 appearances for Harry Redknapp's charges this season, he triggered a year's extension in his contract.

"I'm looking forward to it. I've definitely still got it in the legs," he said.

"Playing at the top grounds is something to look forward to. I'm sure the club will strengthen the squad in the summer but everyone in the dressing-room wants to be part of it.

"Next season is where all the glory is and everyone wants to test themselves."

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