RICHARD DUNNE LOOKS set to miss Ireland’s series of summer friendlies but says he doesn’t feel ready to retire from international football just yet.
The 34-year-old QPR defender, who has earned 80 senior caps having last lined out for the Boys in Green against Kazakhstan last October, is in the middle of a Premier League promotion race with the Rs — currently fourth in the Championship with four games remaining.
Harry Redknapp’s side are expected to book their place in the play-offs meaning Dunne faces the possibility of being involved in an extra five games on top of the 40-plus he will have already played this season.
And with Ireland’s first friendly against Turkey in Dublin on 25 May taking place a day after the Championship final, Dunne acknowledges that he is unlikely to be present.
“If we had got promoted automatically, the season would’ve finished on 3 May and we would have got a bit of a rest,” Dunne told TheScore.ie yesterday.
“But if we get to the final we will still be playing right up to the Ireland friendlies.
I’ll just have to wait and see. All going well if we get to the final I will have played over 45 matches or so, which is a lot.”
Ireland fans will be pleased to see one of the country’s best defenders back playing regular club football after spending a year on the sidelines at Aston Villa between the end of Euro 2012 and last summer.
Martin O’Neill has planned without the 34-year-old during his opening games in charge and while Dunne admits thinking about the prospect of hanging up his international boots, he has decided to make himself available for the foreseeable future.
Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO
“At the moment I don’t feel the need to come out and retire,” he says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play for Ireland and I enjoyed it and still enjoy it so if the manager wants to play that would be brilliant.
“If the manager needs me that’s brilliant and if he wants me in the team that would be great.
That said, I do understand that I’ve missed a lot of internationals over the last couple of years and there are different players coming through. If he wanted to go with them then that’s the way it is and I completely understand that.
“If he turns around and says ‘look, we’re going to move on’ then that’s fine. But I think to be available is important.”
Although he won’t feature in games against Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Costa Rica (pending confirmation), Dunne knows well the importance of utilising these opportunities to hand young players invaluable experience at international level.
“The games in the summer are important as you can give players the experience and that’s how it builds up. Especially as some of the opponents are playing at the World Cup so it’s a good test for lads who haven’t played many games at that level.”
Republic of Ireland Senior International Richard Dunne exchanged advice with Under 21 player Luke Byrne as the pair teamed up to announce Ford’s exclusive ‘Swappage’ offer, where car owners can receive a Swappage Allowance of up to €1,500 in addition to the trade in value of their old vehicle against a brand new Fiesta, Focus, B-Max or C-Max. The offer runs until June 30th and further details are available at fordswappage.ie or from local Ford Dealers countrywide.