International action a relief for Wilson

Portsmouth defender Marc Wilson insists it will be a massive contrast to swap the uncertainty over his footballing future at club level for the honour of winning his first international cap against Brazil.

The Republic of Ireland take on the favourites for this summer’s World Cup at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium on Tuesday night.

The game will be the first of four preparatory matches ahead of the big kick-off for the 2012 European Championship campaign in the autumn.

Ireland were pitted against Russia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Armenia and Andorra and coach Giovanni Trapattoni has already began his planning by adding three newcomers to the squad in the shape of Wigan’s James McCarthy, Wilson and Manchester City’s Greg Cunningham.

It will be the first game for Ireland since France striker Thierry Henry’s handball helped to controversially end their hopes of a place in this summer’s World Cup.

The call-up is a dream come true for Wilson, 22, who has spent much of the season at Pompey wondering if he would be paid as the club battled for financial survival.

The south coast club last week became the first Barclays Premier League club to go into administration but Wilson is hoping to put all that behind for a brief moment as the Irish get set to take on Dunga’s Brazil.

“Obviously the club has been going through a lot of trouble,” said Wilson. “We are in administration now but things are starting to look a little better now.

“We are starting to get paid. They are cutting the club to a minimum but I think that is the best way for the club to go forward.

“It has been great for me to get the call-up but I have just been happy playing football. This is my first year playing a full season in the Premier League.

“It has been a hard season because it has been very physical, very demanding. If I had been at another club, I would not have played as many games because other players would have come in and you are not as physically drained all time.

“It has been a tough learning curve this year. I prefer to play in a centre midfield holding role but I have been playing at centre-back.

“It is tough competition in the Ireland squad but I am just happy to be here. Hopefully, I can progress further in the future.

“Brazil are the best team in the world in my opinion. Their record speaks for itself. It is a great game to be involved in and anyone would be proud to be involved in it.

“Words could not describe my feeling when I heard about the call-up.”

Now Wilson believes the Republic have a good chance of qualifying for the European Championship.

“I think we can do really well in the group,” added Wilson. “We were very unlucky not to get to the World Cup, so we have got a great chance.

“I watched the France game on the television and I could not believe what happened.

“A lot of the players are hurting maybe because they didn’t get to the world cup because of a controversial decision. I am sure a lot of them are upset.”

Wilson was involved in an eligibility dispute earlier in his career when he turned his back on Northern Ireland to play for the Republic of Ireland.

Wilson played for Northern Ireland at both under-15 and under-17 level before switching to the Republic.

He later represented the south at under-18, under-19 and under-21 levels.

But the Portsmouth defender has no regrets about his decision and says every player should have the choice.

“I think you should have the choice,” said Wilson. “I am just concentrating on my club football. I made it clear I wanted to play for the south.

“It has not distracted me at all. I just get on with my football. It was always my dream to play for the Republic. I had grown up supporting them.

“Obviously Northern Ireland want to keep as many talented players as they can and when four or five decide to leave, then that’s what is upsetting them.

“It should be down to the player to make that decision and that should be it.”

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