STEPHEN HUNT would love to see at least one player emerge from the Irish soccer wilderness and claim a seat on the plane to Poland/Ukraine next summer - his kid brother, Noel.
But Wolves man Hunt is more concerned about his own international career and making sure that he’s part of the 23-man panel for the Euro 2012 finals.
Noel has been capped three times at senior level but his last involvement with the panel was in the 0-0 draw at home to Montenegro two years ago, as players like Simon Cox has since leapfrogged the Waterford man.
Former Shamrock Rovers man Noel has had an indifferent start to the season with Reading, scoring just two goals, and Stephen says that Noel can expect no favours if he’s to get into the final squad.
“I’d love to see Noel in the squad but he has to earn the right to be there,” says Stephen. “He’s my brother and I’d be delighted to see him in the squad, but the four strikers who are in the squad now deserve to be ahead of him, that’s the way football is.
“Noel has to set himself a target of getting in, like any striker he needs to score goals. Noel probably needs to be scoring 10-15 more goals to be in the frame.
“Hopefully he will get, I want him to be in the squad and he has done it for Ireland before, he was great in Bari in the last campaign, but he needs to get him himself in there, only he can do it.”
And the Wolves winger, despite winning his 36th cap in Estonia on
Friday night, adopts the same stance for his own fortunes in relation to next summer.
If a queue emerges of bandwagon-jumpers, players who discover an Irish granny time in time to gatecrash our Euro 2012 party, how would Hunt react? “I can’t say much to those players, all I can do is keep my head down and make sure I am in the squad,” he says.
“Over the years people have come into the squad with a Irish granny or granddad, some people came in who weren’t Irish, like Cascarino, so it happens.
“I can’t worry about them, all I can do is work hard to make sure I am on the plane. If I do my job properly over the next few months I will be on the plane, if I’m not on that plane to the finals then I haven’t done my job right. It’s important that I play well over the next six months.”