PADDY MADDEN has a green jersey on the back these days with his club, Scunthorpe United, wearing that colour for their third strip as a tribute to their Irish fan club.
It's easy being in green for the 24-year-old as he's already off the mark for the season in the new kit, scoring for Scunthorpe on the opening day of the League One campaign on Saturday. But for Madden, the aim is to get back into the green shirt of the national team and revive an international career which began a year ago but then tailed away due to injury and a slump in his fortunes at club level which saw him leave Yeovil Town and drop down into the fourth tier in England, after a very public row with his club manager.
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of a big moment in Madden's career, when he made his Ireland debut under Giobvanni Trapattoni in a draw away to Wales but he hasn't been on the radar for recent squads, a consequence of playing in League Two.
But Madden and Scunthorpe have moved up a division, promoted to League One for this season, and while it won't happen overnight, the former Bohemians man remains ambitious.
"I am back playing, back scoring and I am fully confident that I can get back into that Irish squad," Madden told The Herald.
"I have to be realistic and I know that I am in League One, a long way from the Premier League, but if I have a good run of form and score goals I feel I can get back into that Irish squad. The aim is to do well with my club, score goals for Scunthorpe and hope that it's enough to get me playing for my country again.
"It all started so well and it's funny to think it was a year ago this month I was playing against Wales for Ireland. I had obviously done well as Trapattoni picked me for the next games, the qualifiers against Sweden and Austria but I had an injury in training and had to pull out, I was out for seven weeks, and when I got back from the injury I fell o0ut with the manager at Yeovil.
It went from such a high to a real low, the injury and then all that happened with Yeovil, a lot of hard times. But I am back now, playing well, I've scored already this season so that pressure to get the first goal is off and I can look forward now with a bit of confidence."
In May 2013 all was well in the world with Madden. He'd scored a goal at Wembley to help Yeovil win promotion to the Championship, his 24th goal of a remarkable season and the man from Coolock had achieved hero status among Yeovil supporters.
But that dream of playing in the Championship turned sour as Madden fell out with boss Gary Johnson and after just seven starts in the division he was allowed leave, dropping down two divisions to join Scunthorpe, at first on loan and then a permanent £250,000 deal.
"It was great for a while at Yeovil and that experience, a young Dublin lad scoring at Wembley, was something else, but it ended badly. For whatever reason, when I came back after the summer break the staff were on my case all the time, they were making me do extra running, I was made train on my own for four or five weeks," says Madden, still unclear on just how that relationship with Johnson severed.
"We got on great for a long time, you could see how we were on the pitch at Wembley after we won the playoff, we got on really well but for whatever reason things turned bad, we started fighting and arguing, one thing led to another and my time there was up.
"I'm at a club now where I feel wanted and they are starting to get the best out of me. I am back enjoying my football now. I should have been enjoying it this time last year but, for whatever reason, the staff there at Yeovil made it harder for me, so I stopped enjoying my football.
"But I am in a good place now and playing with a smile on my face again. When I am enjoying my football the goals will flow, I got one at the weekend and hopefully that's the first of many. When I am made feel welcome at a club that's when people get the best out of me and I hope that's the case at Scunthorpe now," says Madden.
League Two can be a graveyard for some careers but elevation back to League One gives players like Madden occasional exposure.
"The last time I played in League One, I won the golden boot so people know I can score goals at this level and it's just a great feeling to be playing again and playing well," says Madden.
"It was a gamble last year when I went down to League Two with the move to Scunthorpe but I knew they were an ambitious club, we got promoted and we're looking to do well this season."
With a batch of Irish forwards in the Premier League, SPL and the Championship available to Martin O'Neill, a League One player like Madden will have to show exceptional form to get the nod."I think I showed against Wales last year than I can play at that level," he says. "I don't know if the Ireland manager will be going to League One games but all I can do is try."