A regular at U21 international level, Wolves man Matt Doherty says he never lost hope that the summons to the senior Ireland set-up would come his way.
Doherty, who has showed his versatility by moving from his natural right back position to play at left full for Wolves this season, yesterday enjoyed his first training session with the senior Irish squad, his first time in with the big boys.
Former team-mates at U21 level like Shane Duffy and Jeff Hendrick had already progressed to the seniors but Doherty bided his time and got the rewards after some very solid displays with his club, his cause helped by televsion exposure.
"You always think form will get you there and I was in pretty good form, we had a lot of games on TV for people to see. I guess to some people it will be a surprise. For me, I didn't expect it but I hoped and the form got me in," he says, having hoped to get the nod earlier in his career.
"That's just me being confident when I was a bit younger and thought I deserved it back then. But it never happened which is fine. I just kept doing what I was doing. Eventually it came. I never lost heart, I was young still. People start their international careers quite late. I just needed a whole season behind me because I had never really done that," adds the ex-Bohemians man, unsure if he'll get game time. "The squad is quite big and there's a lot of players so I don't know how it's going to go or whether we'll play or not."