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Doherty: debut has whet my appetite Wolves ace wants more after debut at Anfield

IT WAS A battle between the £20m man and the fifty-grand man.

But Dubliner Matt Doherty, the latest Irish player to make an appearance in England's Premier League, not only feels that he acquitted himself well when playing his first league game for Wolves against Liverpool last week, but he also says he's keen for more tests in the top flight as part of the Wolves defence.

Doherty (19) is not a newcomer to first team football as he made his debut for Wolves in last season's FA Cup run, but he had to wait until last Saturday for his first taste of league action, coming on as a half-time sub for the injured Richard Stearman.

"It was great to get a couple of first team games over the last while. My debut in the FA Cup last season and then the two Carling Cup games this season, but last weekend was special. Anfield, defending at the Kop End, you couldn't ask for a better debut on a personal level, though of course it would have been better if the team had won," Doherty told the Herald this week as he tried to keep himself in Mick McCarthy's thoughts for their next game, at home to Newcastle today.

"Mick was happy with me and I was happy with how I did. I didn't feel as if we'd lost the match, I was on such a high from making my league debut.

"I was up against (Stewart) Downing. I'd seen him on TV so often that I had an idea what he would try and so I was well prepared and I was happy with my performance," added Doherty, who joined Wolves from Bohemians in a deal worth just £50,000 last year.

"Mick brought me on at half time and I was chuffed to bits to get on.

"The dream is to play Premier League football. Now I have had a sniff of it, I want more of it."

Regular football watchers knew that the man from Swords had real potential -- he was one of Ireland's best players as the U19 side reached the semi-finals of the European Championships in July -- but his progress in England has been rapid.


It looked as if his dream move to an English club would never come about, only to finally get his break when McCarthy was impressed by Doherty when he played for Bohs against Wolves in a friendly last year.

While has mates from schoolboy teams earned contracts with British clubs, none of Doherty's many trials yielded a contract, but time spent on a FáS course for young footballers, held in the Bogies in Cabra under Harry McCue, helped Doherty along the way. "From the Bogies to the Premier League, it's been a long road," he joked.

"It's been a crazy two years. I honestly thought I'd never get this chance but now it's come along.

"I was terrible at school and that's why I left.

"I wanted to play football and that FáS course was the closest thing to full-time football that was available to me at that time.

"I know I was lucky for it all to fall into place."

Doherty has already cleared one hurdle recently with the signing of a new three-year contract with Wolves, and he hopes that his good showing last week will convince McCarthy not to send him out on loan but to keep him in the first team squad.

"Hopefully I will stay here. But if Mick sends me out on loan then I'll do what he asks," Doherty said.