Monday 19 February 2018

Euro 2016 rejection would not be devastating for Harry Arter

Republic of Ireland hopeful Harry Arter is keeping things in context
Republic of Ireland hopeful Harry Arter is keeping things in context

Harry Arter will not be devastated if he fails to make the Republic of Ireland squad for the Euro 2016 finals after learning the true meaning of the word.

The 26-year-old Bournemouth midfielder and his fiancée Rachel were left grieving in December last year when their daughter Renee was still-born, and the tragedy has given him a perspective on the profession which has helped him to move on, but not forget.

In the next few days, Arter will discover whether or not Republic boss Martin O'Neill has included him in his 23-man squad for France.

If he has not, there will be disappointment, but it will be in context.

Arter said: "Before that, this would have been the be all and end all for me. If I didn't get in the squad, I would probably have been devastated.

"But I certainly know what devastation means now, it has a completely different meaning to me. If I did miss out, it would be a disappointment, certainly not devastation.

"I have tried to stay professional throughout. Luckily for me, I am passionate about football and I have had something to focus my mind on after what happened. Some people, unfortunately it takes over their life.

"Luckily for me, there is something I have been able to focus on and I want to try to just continue it."

Should Arter make the plane, he will climb on board with his daughter firmly in his mind.

He said: "I want to try to do her proud, I want to try to make my family proud. It's still pretty raw in the sense that it's only been just over five months.

"I don't mind talking about her, but of course I want to do her proud. In my eyes and my family's eyes, she was with us for nine months. I am proud to say she was my daughter and I want to try to do her proud if she is watching."

Professionally, a trip to the Euros would cap a remarkable turn-around for a man who dropped down into the non-league ranks after being released by Charlton as a teenager, rebuilding his career at Woking before being snapped up by the Cherries.

He was a key figure as the club was promoted to the Barclays Premier League at the end of the 2014-15 season and although injuries have hampered him this time around, he has also been part of their successful mission to stay there.

Arter, who will hope to win his second cap against Holland on Friday evening, said: "Regardless of the journey, to go to the Euros would be a dream come true for any player who has never experienced it. The journey is just part of my story, really.

"I will look back and reflect maybe when I am a little bit older if I do go and my story may seem a little bit better in a sense, but for everyone I am sure it would just be brilliant."

Press Association

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