Joey O’Brien has revealed his joy after his shock Ireland recall.
The versatile West Ham man was brought back into the fold by Giovanni Trapattoni on Friday after a four-year absence when injury ruled Sean St Ledger out of next week’s friendly against Serbia in Belgrade.
O’Brien’s recall came as a surprise as he hasn’t been part of the squad since October 2008 when he went public at his discontent over his lack of game-time, claiming he felt “like a fan in a track-suit”.
Those comments combined with a series of injuries have stalled the 26-year-old’s international career but O’Brien is delighted to be back in the fold now as the World Cup qualifiers loom.
“It’s been a long time and I’ve had a few sleepless nights,” he admitted.
“Comments I made in the past were taken out of context and weren’t what I wanted to say because I love playing for my country.”
Having secured his international return, O’Brien is also targeting a return to Premier League action. Remarkably his last top-flight appearance came in a goal-less home draw for former club Bolton against Blackburn Rovers in October 2008.
“Personally, when I got released by Bolton, I was released by a Premier League club, then I got the chance to go to a massive club like West Ham,” he said.
“The dream then was to get back to playing Premier League football. Through all my injury worries, it was all about getting back to playing in the Premier League so hopefully I’ll get that chance.”
O’Brien feels his versatility can be an asset for the Hammers this season.
“Obviously it gives me a chance to get minutes on the pitch,” he said.
“I can play in midfield or at centre-half too, so that could give me opportunities. Players are going to pick up injuries and whatever, so as long as the manager gives me the call, hopefully I’ll be able to do the job.”
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