Kevin Doyle is determined to enjoy every second of his big night in Limerick after being named Republic of Ireland captain for the first time.
The 25-year-old Wolves striker will wear the armband in place of Robbie Keane tomorrow night as the Republic take on World Cup hosts South Africa.
Doyle admitted he was shocked to be asked to lead the side out by manager Giovanni Trapattoni, and while he knows his chance has come because more experienced candidates have returned to their clubs, he is not about to let that spoil his enjoyment.
He said: “I wasn’t even thinking about it – you don’t think about those things - but to be told, I was delighted.
“It never entered my head and that made it a bit of a shock at the time, but then you realise all the lads have pulled out.
“I have only been three or four years in the squad, but now I suppose I am one of the older lads, which is strange as well.
“I just phoned my parents and they were delighted. They didn’t expect me to be playing in the game, so for them to hear I was going to be made captain, they were delighted.
“Very few people get to captain their country. It’s a friendly game – to me, that doesn’t make any difference.
“I will remember it – you never know when I will get the chance again. There are five or six lads who have more caps than me and would have been ahead of me, so I will relish every second that I get to be captain.”
Doyle did captain former club Reading briefly last season, and is relishing the task to gain more experience in the role on the international stage.
He said: “I captained Reading last year for a month when one of the lads was injured, until I got injured myself.
“It was an experience at the time – we were struggling a bit and it was good to be given the captain’s armband under pressure.
“I did get one win – I got that out of my system. We didn’t lose that many times in the four of five games I was captain, and that was nice.”