Potter hoping to follow in Hoolahan’s footsteps

Darren Potter may be the forgotten man when it comes to the Republic of Ireland set-up, but he is hoping to follow Wes Hoolahan’s example by taking the long road back.

In 2008, the one-time Liverpool midfielder was included in Giovanni Trapattoni’s first Irish squad, which flew to Portugal for a training camp, and big things were expected of him.

However, he has since tumbled down the pecking order with the 28-year-old now playing in League One for MK Dons and has yet to add to his five senior caps since Trapattoni took over.

Potter, though, isn’t giving up hope and wants to use the recent breakthrough of Hoolahan at the age of 30 as motivation to resurrect his international career.

“Funnily enough, I roomed with Wes on that trip (in Portugal). Obviously, he has been outstanding for Norwich, so if it’s going to be difficult for someone like him, playing in the Premier League, then the chances of the manager coming to MK Dons are slim,” said Potter. “I don’t know what the manager looks for in a player, but I don’t think I would be any different if playing in the Championship or League One.

“I don’t know what it will take to get back into the squad — maybe promotion back to the Championship.

“I think when you look at Wes and even Leon Osman with England, the door isn’t always closed and it gives you hope to cling on to that you can still get back into the squad again.”

Potter remains clueless as to why he went from exciting prospect to forgotten exile, but the midfielder, who has been in Dublin this week on pre-season training, is still hoping for a recall.

“I was involved in the manager’s first training camp. We played two games out in Portugal, I scored in the one I played in and came off at half-time with a heel injury, but I haven’t been seen since, which hurts.

“As to why or whatever the reasons were that the manager decided to never to call me up again, I’m not sure, but I know that I would love to be involved again and I’ve not given up on it.”

Another player hoping to force his way into Trapattoni’s plans is Wolves defender Richard Stearman, who is actively pursuing an Irish passport in order to be available for selection.

The former England U21 international qualifies for Ireland through his maternal grandparents and is believed to have been in contact with the FAI about switching eligibility.

“It is in the process at the moment. I am gaining a passport and citizenship and hopefully that will be not far around the corner,” said Stearman.

“All my family on my mother’s side are Irish and I am looking to get on the international scene.”

Two years ago, Stearman, 25, stated his intent to Wolves team-mates Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt about making the switch; now he is close to completing the process.

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