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McCarthy says Ward ready for Ireland call

FORMER Ireland manager Mick McCarthy feels that his Wolves defender Stephen Ward is ready for international football, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

Ward is a key member of McCarthy's Wolves side this season, with 11 appearances, but a senior cap has so far eluded Portmarnock man Ward. But McCarty expects that to change.

"I think Stephen can play international football, there is no doubt about that," said McCarthy. "He will continue to get better.

"He wants to learn and he is just improving all the time, from being a centre forward/winger to a left back. He has been playing well in the Premier League and that has not surprised me at all. He is the nearest thing to Kevin Kilbane you will get.

"He is a left winger who I thought would either end up there, or he could be a left back because he tackles and works so hard.. He is a great character," added McCarty, who paid Bohemians €200,000 for Ward in 2007. "I have conversations with Liam Brady and Wardy will always get a glowing recommendation."