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'I'll look back on it in years to come with pride' - Debut boy Arter stakes a claim for starting place

The Bournemouth midfielder impressed after being introduced in the second half of today’s draw with England.

Arter makes his entrance into the game.
Arter makes his entrance into the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THERE MAY NOT have been too many significant talking points from afternoon’s 0-0 draw between Ireland and England, but for Harry Arter, it was special moment in his career.

The 25-year-old midfielder, who spent a season with non-league Woking after he was let go by boyhood club Charlton back in 2010, capped off a terrific season at club level by helping unfancied Bournemouth win the Championship.

Martin O’Neill felt Arter’s performances for the Cherries warranted a place in his squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland in March and, today, the former Ireland U19 international made his senior bow.

With 63 minutes on the clock, he replaced Glenn Whelan to form a two-man midfield alongside Jeff Hendrick.

It was good to finally get a game and a moment that I’ll be sure to look back on in years to come with a lot of pride,” Arter said.

“My main focus is just to take each day as it comes. I’m very inexperienced at this level and any part that the manager thinks I can play I’m more than happy to do.”

It momentarily looked as if Arter could be in line for a dream debut when, on 74 minutes, he robbed Ross Barkley of possession and surged forward. With nine goals to his name this season, including a couple of cracking long distance efforts, Arter is known for his striking ability.

Unfortunately, his drive whistled past Joe Hart’s post on this occasion.

“I might have slipped (Shane) Longy in but at the time I felt like I had to have a shot,” he explained. “The manager said ‘well done’ for getting into those sort of positions after the game and I’m sure he would encourage anyone to shoot around that area.”

Harry Arter reacts to a missed shot Arter reacts after shooting just wide. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Overall, Ireland fans can be encouraged by the cameo appearance and, for Arter, it was an opportunity to get a taste of what it will be like to play in the Premier League next season while giving O’Neill another option ahead of Saturday’s make-or-break qualifier against Scotland in Dublin.

“For me, these are the players I’m going to be playing against next year so it was nice to test myself against them and experience it,” he added.

“From afar you realise how good they are but when come up against them, you see what you’re in for.”

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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