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Ambitious Sammon's next goal to score for his country

IT WILL take some time for Conor Sammon to look as if he belongs in Ireland's senior international squad. There's still some residual awkwardness and that's no surprise given the general response to his emergence as a Giovanni Trapattoni favourite.

But he's an honest, hard-working pro and in Trapattoni's world that counts for a great deal; much more than the muttering of pundits and football writers.

Sammon is living the life and should never have to apologise for the fact that he can now look forward to an unlikely spell as an international footballer and moments like his brief cameo against England.

"To be involved in that game as a player was brilliant and to then make an impact in the other two games was great. Playing Spain is going to be a huge game. It maybe a friendly match but it's a chance for players to go out there and show that they can do well against top-class opposition.



"I'm delighted that I have been given the opportunity by the manager at international level. I'm looking to be part of it, to grow within the team.

"A trip like this when you are away for quite a long time gives you the chance to settle in and get to know lads better.

"It's been a great experience for me and I'm hoping to have many more like it.

"My next goal is to score for my country, which is always my ambition going on to the pitch. I have been able to make an impact and create a few goals in the games, so I'm looking to go that one step further and get one myself.

"But, if not, I am happy enough to be a part of it and to be enjoying it."

Sammon set up Robbie Keane's hat-trick goal against the Faroes and would happily do that for a long time to come.

"It's been amazing to be playing with and training alongside a player like Robbie with the career he has had, the caps he has won and the goals he's scored.

"In the last few games, the goals he scored showed that he is always in the right place at the right time. He really comes alive in the box and makes it look easy. But when you play football you realise that it is not.

"To get yourself into those positions is not just luck or chance.



"To get the chance to rub shoulders with a player like that and who has got so much experience is only going to benefit me in the long run.

"I think I bring physical strength to the team, I can rustle defenders up and create space for other players. I also feel that I have pace that allows me to give teams problems behind and stretch games as well. That creates space for other players.

"I'm very hungry to do well at this level and prove to myself that I can play at this level."

A year ago, Sammon sat in a hotel room in Sorrento watching Spain take Ireland apart.

"I was on holiday in Sorrento watching the game on television and wishing that I could get the chance to be involved. Now that I have got that chance I'm keen to keep on experiencing times and games like it.

"I'm ambitious and I want to play against the top players. But not just to play against them but to do well against them.

"Now we have a chance against Spain to go out and play against a top team. We will be massive underdogs but we go out there with nothing to lose and everything to gain."