Reid is happy to wait in the wings

THIS week, Steven Reid must have briefly thought there was a prospect of starting tomorrow in Niigata.

THIS week, Steven Reid must have briefly thought there was a prospect of starting tomorrow in Niigata.

With Jason McAteer wrestling with his fitness and impressive displays in Ireland’s last two warm-up games, it was looking good for the Millwall midfielder.

But had McAteer being ruled out, Reid knew he had only a slim chance of starting. Despite striking onlookers as the most exciting player in training during this subdued week, Mick McCarthy would have erred on the side of caution and placed Gary Kelly on the right side of midfield, something borne out by the matches that conclude each training session.

Not that Reid minds. Even if he is to be a bit-player at this World Cup, the 20-year old feels it is just great to be here. After all, he should be sunning himself in Barbados.

"If Mark Kennedy was fit, he would be here instead of me now, so I am more than happy just to be in Japan. It looks as if Jason’s injury has cleared up so hopefully we will have a full strength team out here on Saturday," Reid said.

"I know I am going to start on the bench but if Mark Kennedy was fit, he would be here instead of me now. I believe I have something to offer if I get a run in one of the games and that is my aim now."

May looked like being a horrible month for Reid. Knocked out of the Premiership play-offs by the odd goal, getting that heart-wrenching phone call from McCarthy telling him he just missed out on Japan, Reid needed a holiday to recuperate. Now, it has all turned out for the best.

"Every day has been a new experience and I believe it will make me a stronger person," he said.

"Since I made my debut in the past year I have improved as a player and so much of that is down to the quality of the guys I am training with and playing alongside for Ireland."

Someone mentioned the Millwall connection and Reid shifted slightly in his seat.

McCarthy still keeps a watchful eye over the team he cut his managerial teeth with and keeps in contact with his ex-Irish team-mate Kevin Callaghan, who runs the academy there. Did this boost Reid’s international chances?

"I would like to think I am in the squad because of what I have done on the pitch, not because Mick was manager at Millwall. But it helps that he gets to a lot of the Millwall games and if he doesn’t then Ian Evans comes along. They see what I can do at club level."

Thirty-yard strikes became a sort of speciality for Reid at the New Den last season.

All he needs is the space and a chance to hit the ball. If Reid gets it at this World Cup, there is a chance Irish football might have a new celebrity.

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