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'Irish call-up would be a dream,' says ex-Villa defender Stevens

Portsmouth’s Enda Stevens hopes his club form with Portsmouth can attract the attention of Martin O’Neill.

Enda Stevens tackles Manchester United's Antonio Valencia while playing for Aston Villa in 2012.
Enda Stevens tackles Manchester United's Antonio Valencia while playing for Aston Villa in 2012.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

ENDA STEVENS SAYS it would be “a dream” to earn a call-up to Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland squad, but insists that he will have to continue playing well for his club.

O’Neill attended Portsmouth’s FA Cup fourth-round encounter with Bournemouth in January, with Eunan O’Kane thought to be the focus of his attention. However, Stevens, who’s a former Ireland U21 international, is hopeful that he made an impression on the Irish boss.

“It would be a dream of mine to earn an international call-up but I’ve got to focus on my club football,” Stevens told the Portsmouth News. “If I keep playing well, hopefully that’ll get me into the Irish team.”

Stevens faces competition from Burnley’s Stephen Ward and Norwich City midfielder Robbie Brady for the left-back position, while Stoke City defender Marc Wilson and Stevens’ former Aston Villa team-mate Ciaran Clark can also play there.

Nevertheless, the  ex-Shamrock Rovers defender is keen to add to his three U21 caps by graduating to the senior set-up.

“I have played for the U21s a few times. It was a good experience,” continued the 25-year-old. “I got three caps but it was a great experience and I’d love to push on to the [senior] internationals.

“It doesn’t do me any harm [O’Neill watching Portsmouth]. Obviously, it’s his decision and he’s the manager so he picks his players. All I can do is play well for my club and hopefully, if I do well, that will be rewarded with a call-up.”

Portsmouth v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League Two - Fratton Park Enda Stevens playing for Portsmouth against AFC Wimbledon. Source: EMPICS Sport

A Dublin native, Stevens played in the League of Ireland for UCD, St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers before joining Aston Villa in 2012.

The full-back made seven league appearances in four years at Villa, enjoying loan spells at Notts County, Northampton Town and Doncaster Rovers before signing for Portsmouth in June 2015.

He has been ever-present for Paul Cook’s side this season, featuring in all 29 league games to date as they bid to earn promotion to League One.

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