One Ireland stalwart has already exited stage left and another is predicted to follow suit in the very near future. However Kevin Doyle insists he won’t be joining Shay Given and likely Robbie Keane into international retirement.
Given called time on his Ireland career last week before Martin O’Neill later revealed that Keane is preparing to make his own announcement imminently. The skipper’s fellow US-based frontman insists he’s not ready to walk away.
Colorado Rapids striker Doyle turns 33 next month, soon after Ireland’s qualification campaign for World Cup 2018 in Russia kicks off. While he was named in an initial squad for this summer’s European Championships, he never made it off the standby list for France.
He hasn’t heard from O’Neill in the meantime, but doesn’t see that his time in a green shirt has definitively come to an end.
“I’ll be picked or not picked basically. It’s as simple as that,” said Doyle. “I haven’t been in touch with Martin. I’ve just been concentrating on playing here. If I’m picked, I’m picked. If I’m not... I honestly don’t know.”
Doyle has won 62 caps in 10 years and scored 14 goals, good for eighth place on the all-time scorers list. By the time he made his debut in 2006, Given had already racked up a decade in international football.
“He’s probably 20 years at it I’d imagine, maybe more,” said Doyle in praise of his former teammate. “It’s unbelievable — 1996. The last time Wexford won a hurling final. It’s a long time and to be able to keep going, you can only admire that.
“I know goalkeepers play longer but to be still going to European championships this summer and still be around, that takes a serious amount of commitment and dedication.”
Doyle’s return to the Ireland fold in a March friendly with Switzerland ended abruptly after a horror injury, a picture of which he shared on social media. Over four months on, he insists, he is none the worse for the gruesome gash that opened his leg.
“It’s fine. It looked a lot worse than it was when I look back [now].”
Doyle was speaking at Yankee Stadium in New York after his Colorado Rapids side, the success story of the MLS season, suffered a crushing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Frank Lampard’s NYCFC.
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