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Donabate ace hoping cap wish is Grant-ed

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Donabate's Conor Grant playing for Republic of Ireland U21s against Switzerland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Donabate's Conor Grant playing for Republic of Ireland U21s against Switzerland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Donabate's Conor Grant playing for Republic of Ireland U21s against Switzerland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

fingalindependent

CONOR Grant admits his ultimate goal in his football career is to get a senior international cap for Ireland, and although he says he is miles off achieving that feat right now the Donabate youngster may well be selling himself short as many in the game are tipping him to enter Stephen Kenny’s plans over the next couple of years.

Grant joined Rochdale from Sheffield Wednesday in February last year on a two and a half year contract and his then manager Brian Barry Murphy is on record as saying that he is convinced the 20-year-old is a senior international in waiting.

Barry Murphy pointed to Grant’s attacking style and wide passing range and compared him to the type of midfielder you’d normally find in Spain rather than Ireland.

Grant has quickly become a mainstay in midfield for the League 2 club, both scoring goals and assisting, and Dale fans are worried that his performances will have clubs higher up the league ladder enquiring about the services of the talented youngster.

Grant said he doesn’t really take much notice of chatter from the stands or social media platforms and is instead focused on continuing to work hard – and one day force his way into the senior international set-up.

“It’s obviously nice to hear Brian Barry Murphy speak so highly of me, but I know I’m only getting started and there is plenty for me still to improve on,” he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed this season and I’ve been playing a bit higher up the pitch which has allowed me to score a few goals and create chances for my teammates which has been great.

“When I came to Rochdale one of the main reasons I agreed was the fact that Brian Barry Murphy was here, so when he resigned (to take over the Manchester City Elite Development squad) I was a bit worried about how it would work out with the new manager.

“There was no need to worry at all, though, as Robbie (Stockdale) has been brilliant and really encouraged me to get forward and play me high up the pitch where I love to be.

“I’m living in Manchester city centre, which is a nice spot, and I’m pretty settled here now, I have to say. It was tough during my first year over here when I signed for Sheffield Wednesday as Covid had just hit and we were playing in front of empty stadiums which obviously wasn’t ideal.

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“This season, though, has been great, with supporters allowed back, and my family and mates have been over quite a few times to watch me in action.

“I’ve said it before, but for me my number one ambition is to play for the senior Irish squad. That is what I’m working towards. I know that I am a million miles off achieving that right now, but I also know I’m young and with hard work and dedication I have the potential to realise that ambition.

“I have another year on my contract here in Rochdale and although I’m enjoying a few weeks back home now for the summer I intend to get back to pre-season in July and work hard to get ready for what I hope will be another fruitful season for me.”


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