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Fahey: I'm desperate to return

FOUR YEARS after he caught the attention of the football world with an outstanding display against German opposition, Keith Fahey is this week desperate to end his 11-month exile from the international scene against another batch of Germans.

Fahey is now an established presence on the club scene in England and has regained his place in the Irish squad after an injury-enforced absence.

But it was back in 2008 when he starred for St Patrick's Athletic against Hertha Berlin in the UEFA Cup that Fahey convinced cross-channel clubs that he had what was needed and within weeks a deal had been agreed to sell him to Birmingham City.

Some Germans are in town this week and the stakes are high, not just for the Irish team but for Fahey. His last cap was in the second leg of the Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia 11 months ago as injury forced him to drop out of the squad for the finals in Poland.


Now an injury to another player, Glenn Whelan, could see Fahey pushed into the starting XI for the Germany game and while he sympathises with Whelan, Fahey knows that one man's misfortune has handed him his chance to revive his own Ireland career.

"If someone misses out through injury then it's someone else's gain, so if I get an opportunity myself I'll be more than willing to come in and do a job," Fahey told the Evening Herald.

"I'm hopeful of getting an opportunity. It may come about from someone else being injured but that's football for you, that's the way it works.

"I just hope I can play a part. I don't come over here for the Ireland games to sit on the bench, I want to play and do well so we'll see what the manager decides to do.

"It's been a hard few months since even before the Euros. It was a big disappointment to miss out on the Euros but I got on with it, I went back pre-season aiming to get ready, hopefully it's all behind me now and I just want to stay on top of it.

"There are bits and bobs, extra training I have to do during the week but I don't mind that," added Fahey, who did a spot of spying on the Germans in club action last week.


"Germany have top players throughout their squad, we'll know all about them and there will be no surprises. I saw Borussia Dortmund play Manchester City in the Champions League last week and they were unreal, their pace was frightening.

"They have so much quality about them, they don't just get the head down and run, they have a real balance to their play and it's going to be a hard game for us," he says.

"Germany at home is just such a massive game. With the players they have in their squad, how well they've done in tournaments gone by, they're not spoken about as much as maybe Spain are, but Germany are up there, with some of the best players in the world.

"You relish it, it's going to be a hard game and it's going to be hard to get the ball but anyone who's not looking forward to it has something up with them."

Friday could be, just like the entire Euro 2012 experience, a difficult task for those deployed in the Irish midfield.

"I felt for Whelo and Keith (Andrews) at the Euros, especially against Spain where they just couldn't get the ball. Spain played through them with the quality they have. Whoever does play on Friday will have to cope with that."

Fahey of course missed out on the finals due to that injury which prevented him even from travelling.

"I watched the Euros in Thailand. It was great to get away from it all but it was also very disappointing for the lads. People had worked so hard to get there and it was unfortunate what happened," he admits.

"I suppose the positive for me was that I got to have a holiday and a good rest.

"I needed that because the last couple of years have been hectic enough. Getting away from it all was the best thing for me at the time even though I was very disappointed at the time, yet in the end that break was what I needed.

"Since I left Pats it's been hectic for me, non-stop really.

"With the break over the summer you're involved with the Irish team so you don't get as much time off as the other lads at the club who aren't involved in the international scene.

"A lot of people worked so hard to get to the Euros and then what happened out there wasn't ideal. It's not like we tried to do bad for the fans, we wanted to do well and wanted them to enjoy themselves. We wanted to win games for them, so we're looking to get a good result for them on Friday."