Harry Arter discusses being an English-born player in the Ireland squad

Harry Arter is determined to prove he deserves the right to pull on a Republic of Ireland shirt as he targets a World Cup qualifier start in Georgia.

The 27-year-old Bournemouth midfielder won just his sixth senior cap in June's draw with Austria in Dublin two years after making his international debut, with injuries having interrupted his attempts to force his way into Martin O'Neill's plans during the intervening period.

Arter, who was born in England and has more than once found himself at the centre of speculation that he could change allegiance despite declaring for Ireland, has admitted he could understand if an Irish-born player of the same ability resented his presence in the team, but is doing is best to ensure that is not an issue.

He said: "When I was called up for the first time, I'd been at Bournemouth for seven years and coming to a new environment was different, let alone coming in with a group of players who had a different accent to me.

"In an ideal world, a young lad grows up in Ireland, he comes through the ranks, through the Irish teams and plays for a local side and best case scenario, they move on to England or abroad and they do well and they get into the Irish senior side.

"If that was the case and there was an English-born player who had the same ability as him and the English player was picked ahead, I would see that as a little bit unfair.

"One thing I would say, though, is that I think as a country and as a management, they have got it spot on in the sense that they pick players in the end purely based on ability and if it is and English-born player that deserves to play, they play him."

Republic boss O'Neill has turned to Arter for both games against the Austrians in the current campaign, a 1-0 win in Vienna and a 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium, and could do once again with James McCarthy and Jeff Hendrick both missing for Saturday's Group D clash with Georgia in Tbilisi.

If that proves to be the case, he is ready to answer the call on a night when his ongoing education in international football will be a secondary consideration.

Arter said: "I've got a job to do for the team and where we are in the group now, it's not a time for anyone to be learning."

Ireland will fly out for Georgia on Thursday sitting level with group leaders Serbia but knowing there is little margin for error despite boasting a perfect record against the Georgians, who they have beaten on each of the eight occasions the two sides have met.

However, it has rarely been straightforward and Arter is well aware of the threat Vladimir Weiss' men will pose on their own pitch.

He said: "I've seen Georgia play a few times and I don't think they've got the results they probably deserved. They're technically very good and it baffles me a little bit how they haven't got more points and been a little bit more successful."

If the trip to Tbilisi will prove testing, Arter has at least had some preparation for difficult situations after spending the early hours of Sunday morning at club-mate Simon Francis' home watching the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight.

He said with a smile: "We were both tired at the end of it, but I got home and the little baby was awake, so I had to carry on doing the morning feed and let the missus have a sleep."

Meanwhile, striker Jonathan Walters was able to complete the warm-up with his team-mates on Wednesday as he continued his recovery from an ankle injury, although he did not train fully once again.


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