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Euro vision: I got the text and I couldn't believe it, says Duffy

Shane Duffy’s international call-up is taking a while to sink in, the Everton youngster admits.

Shane Duffy.
Shane Duffy.
Image: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

SHANE DUFFY STILL can’t quite believe the text he got after training on Monday, telling him that he had been added to the Republic of Ireland squad to face the Czech Republic later this month.

The Everton youngster was called into Giovanni Trapattoni’s 24-man panel to replace the injured Richard Dunne, who fractured his clavicle last weekend.

Duffy, 20, has played himself onto the fringes of Trap’s selection with a series of assured first-team performances since Christmas, vindicating David Moyes’ decision to throw him in at the deep end.

But when the manager announced his squad for Ireland’s first Euro 2012 warm-up last Friday, the Derry native was nowhere to be seen.

Now that he’s there, he can hardly believe his luck.

“I was over the moon to be honest,” Duffy told evertontv. “I finished training and got the text saying ‘you’re in the squad’. It was a dream come true.

It was weird because the FAI man texts you to say congratulations on your call up and I was thinking, ‘is this real?’. But then I got the letter. As I said, I couldn’t believe it.

It’s been crazy. I still can’t believe it. I just woke up [the next morning] and it was still all over my Twitter and Facebook, and messages were still coming.

“It’s such a big thing in Ireland when you get called up, obviously for me and my family,” he adds. “My mum and dad are so proud of me.”

“I’m so proud to just be involved”

Duffy’s inclusion takes the number of Evertonians in the Ireland squad to three, along with his buddy Seamus Coleman and the Toffees’ new recruit Darron Gibson.

“Darron’s from Derry as well, so it’s good to have him around. Seamus, obviously I’m close to him; he was so delighted for me. With the three of us there, it’s going to be good for Everton and hopefully we can all play a part.”

Duffy was just 10 the last time Ireland were at a major championship, when Robbie Keane was scoring last-minute equalisers in Ibaraki and Damien Duff was taking a bow in Yokohama.

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At 21 and 23, Keane and Duff were the starlets of that squad. Now, 10 years on, they are Ireland’s old hands and Duffy is looking forward to learning from them.

When you’re young, that’s who you’re looking up to. People like Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Shay Given are your idols when you’re growing up and you’re watching them. Now you’re in the same squad as them.

But while he might be slightly in awe of his more established colleagues at first, Duffy knows that he’s there on merit and not just to make up the numbers. He might be the new kid on the block, but if he can make an impression against the Czechs, he could find himself on the plane to Poland and Ukraine.

“I’m so proud to just be involved. It’s a big thing when I haven’t played in that many games. Hopefully they trust me enough to pick me in the squad [for the Euros], even though I might not play.

“I’ve got in there, so I’ve got to take my chance.”

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Niall Kelly

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