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'I felt my commitment levels have been judged a little bit unfairly'

After putting in a man-of-the-match display in tonight’s win over Uruguay, Harry Arter says he’s willing to play through the pain-barrier against Austria.

Arter with Uruguay's Jonathan Urretaviscaya.
Arter with Uruguay's Jonathan Urretaviscaya.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

IT WOULD BE fair to describe Harry Arter’s Ireland career to-date as “stop-start”.

A tenacious footballer who undoubtedly improves the team with his tireless work rate and range of passing, there was genuine excitement among fans when the Bournemouth midfielder made his senior international debut in April 2015.

This evening’s win over Uruguay was just his sixth appearance in a green shirt and a run of unfortunately-timed injuries have prevented him from playing a more prominent role under Martin O’Neill.

In this latest friendly, the 27-year-old got 90 minutes under his belt and picked up the man-of-the-match award thanks to a wholehearted display in the centre of the park.

When Arter went down with an ankle problem in the first half, it looked like his night might be over but thankfully he was okay to continue.

Speaking after the final whistle, the player shed some light on the injury.

“I’ve got a slight little problem with my ankle at the moment,” Arter said. “It probably requires an injection at the end of the internationals but it’s nothing too important. It was just a little bit of soreness.”

Arter was excellent on his competitive debut in the famous victory in Vienna last November and says he is willing to play through the pain-barrier when the Austrians come to town this day week.

“I’m mentally strong enough to put niggles like that to one side,” he added. “In the past, I’ve unfortunately missed out on a few trips through injuries that I’ve been unable to play through. When I can play through something I’m more than prepared.”

Just this week, James McClean came out and questioned the commitment levels of players who miss international matches through injury before lining out for their club days later.

Arter’s own involvement with the Ireland set-up was cast into doubt last year when rumours surfaced that he was planning to switch allegiance to England due to the fact that he hadn’t yet played competitively.

The speculation proved baseless and while he admits it has been frustrating, there is a determination to let his football to do that talking.

“It’s been disappointing,” he said. “I felt my commitment levels have been judged a little bit unfairly and one thing I’ve always said to myself is that I won’t say too much to the press about being judged on my commitment.

I’ll just try perform on the pitch and show when I play that I’m 100% committed.”

On tonight’s performance, Arter was pleased with how they went about hassling and harrying the Uruguayans from start to finish.

“I felt our work rate and pressing against a side that has great history and great players just shows that if you put quality players under pressure we can get something and they will give the ball away.

“I felt that was the most evident thing from tonight.”

Attention now turns to Austria and a win on Sunday would go some way to securing at least the play-off spot for Ireland.

“It would put us in a great position,” Arter said. “It will be a long summer individually and collectively if we don’t get a positive result so finger’s crossed.

“We will no doubt prepare right and hopefully that gets us the result.”

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Ben Blake

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