Ireland defender Stephen Ward last night expressed delight at his inclusion in Giovanni Trapattoni’s Euro 2012 squad.
“You never know and you are always pessimistic. It has been named now and we are on the home straight and it is coming close. It is one of the best things to ever happen to me. To go to a major championship with your country is something you only dream of as a kid and to be in that situation is a real honour and a privilege and one I hope I can grasp.”
Ward, along with fellow Euro squad members Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Foley have had a miserable time in the Premier League with relegated Wolves but the quartet now have the chance to excel for their country.
“It has been a tough, tough year and to get relegated was absolutely devastating,” said the Portmarnock native.
“The lads were all down but we have the chance to put it firmly to the back of our minds and get a fresh start.
James McCarthy’s decision to withdraw from the squad due to his father’s battle with cancer was a difficult but correct decision according to Ward.
“It is sad you know,” said the Dubliner. “There are more important things in life sometimes and he has done this for the right reasons.’’
Despite being hampered by a persistent groin problem of late, Birmingham midfielder Keith Fahey revealed last night that he was always confident of selection.
“I was able to play a bit during the qualifiers,’’ he explained on RTÉ’s MNS show. “I came on in most of the games I was available for. I was in his plans during the qualifiers so I was just glad to get confirmation last night that I’d be in the squad for the Euros.’’
Injury meant Fahey missed Birmingham’s first leg play-off semi-final defeat to Blackpool and he has also been ruled out of tomorrow night’s second leg.
However, he is confident of being fully fit for the finals.
“At the moment I’m working on building up a bit of strength,’’ he explained. “It’s not a major issue. I should be grand for the Euros, fingers crossed, and hopefully we’ll have a play-off final before that.’’
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