Matt Doherty is confident that his ambition of playing in a major finals will be achieved under Stephen Kenny, even though he is aware that sceptics doubt the team’s level of progress.
The Spurs wing-back is fit again and set to start in the UEFA Nations League clash with Scotland on Saturday, a game that could have implications for Ireland’s Euro 2024 fate.
Either way, Doherty is sure that Kenny’s side is trending in the right direction with next year’s qualifiers in mind. He turned 30 earlier this year and thinks this managerial team can deliver his dream of representing his country in a tournament.
“A lot of us are kind of at that age where there might not be that many more opportunities to kind of get back into a serious competition,” says Doherty. “Some of us have never been, including myself.
“We’ve a set goal that we want to achieve. I think we’re capable. I know people might not think that’s the case. I feel like I know football. I know how good the players are, how much they listen to the manager. I think we are capable of achieving something, yes.
"We get coached extremely well, our game-plan is almost always spot on, so the confidence is there from the set-up we have. I think maybe at the start of the reign, he was trying to find confidence in players, but since then, everyone has been on top form and ready to play for him.”
Scotland suffered a blow last night when Everton’s Nathan Patterson was stretchered off in their game with Ukraine, an injury that could open the door for Ireland skipper Séamus Coleman to get back into his club side.