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Back in green

LONDON boy Steven Reid is praying for a return to the green jersey in the March friendly game against Brazil in his native city.

Due to injury and loss of form, the Blackburn Rovers man has not played for his country since the World Cup qualifier away to Montenegro, missing the last 14 internationals. But Reid, 28, is making good progress in his recovery from the knee injury which threatened to end his career, having made his first Premier League appearance in 16 months in Blackburn's win over Fulham last weekend.

He's hoping for another run-out in the Rovers shirt in tonight's Carling Cup semi-final away to Aston Villa, but for Reid, that March 2 date with Brazil in the Emirates Stadium is the one he's really up for.

"I have been out of the frame with Ireland for a long, long time now so the Brazil game is a big target for me," Reid told the Herald.

"I have missed out the last two times we played Brazil so I would love to play in the game anyway. But the fact that it's in London, where I'm from, in the Emirates Stadium, where I have played before with my club, is a massive attraction for me. I have been away from the Irish squad for over a year, it's been long time and I have really missed it.

"But if I can stay fit, stay in the Blackburn team over the next few weeks and make sure I am in good shape and playing well when the manager announces his squad for Brazil, I'd like to think I'd have a chance.

"There was a bit of a misunderstanding over my injury a few months back but there is no issue and no difficulty between me and the manager now. I am ready to play and if Ireland call, I will be there like a shot."