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'Hopefully he was happy': Arter keen to impress O'Neill after breakthrough performance

The midfielder made his competitive debut for the Boys in Green in Vienna on Saturday.

Arter didn't see a lot of the ball but put in a good defensive shift.
Arter didn't see a lot of the ball but put in a good defensive shift.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

HARRY ARTER HOPES Martin O’Neill can now trust him to operate in Ireland’s midfield after he delivered a composed performance in the famous victory over Austria at the weekend.

The Bournemouth midfielder has been forced to bide his time since making his international debut over a year ago but demonstrated his worth on Saturday with a breakthrough display.

Arter grew in stature as the game developed and after an understandably nervous start, played a key role in shielding the back four alongside David Meyler as Ireland assumed pole position in Group D.

“It was good to make my competitive debut and of course when you do that you want to mark it with a good result,” he said afterwards. “But it was a good night all round.

“The first half I wasn’t too pleased but then in the second half I was pleased and to come here and get a result is always a good result.”

Arter has excelled for club in the Premier League this season in a more attacking role alongside Jack Wilshere but showed another string to his bow in Vienna by fulfilling a disciplined defensive role.

Austria v Republic of Ireland - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - Group D - Ernst-Happel-Stadion Arter enjoyed a hugely encouraging competitive debut. Source: John Walton

With Glenn Whelan’s departure ultimately transpiring into a blessing in disguise for Ireland, Arter marshalled the midfield during the second half and truly announced himself on the international stage.

From a personal point of view, too, this performance marked the end of a disappointing saga for the player. After inaccurate reports suggested he wasn’t committed to the cause as England prepared to come calling, Arter can finally draw a line under that particular issue and look forward with great encouragement.

“I suppose I always thought that was part of the reason that I hadn’t played so much in the past,” he said of Martin O’Neill trusting him.

“I had to just keep on working hard with Bournemouth and I’m really grateful that he has given me my chance; thankfully we got a positive result and hopefully he was happy.

“There’s another four months to go before that game [Wales], a lot of football to be played for me between now and then. All of us have club games and me, I personally I feel, that’s where the manager will pick you from but obviously it’s good to be part of a team that has won, it won’t do me any harm but I’ve four months ahead with Bournemouth and hopefully I can keep doing well.”

Harry Arter Arter played a crucial role in Ireland's win. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

While Saturday night was obviously a huge personal triumph for the London-born midfielder, Arter was keen to deflect the attention away from himself and on the team, who recorded arguably their most important away victory since Scotland in 1987.

“It should be a good moment for the country,” he added. “We didn’t have a great record here, in fact it was a very poor record so it’s good to come here and get a result. It puts us in a great position. And them in a lot of trouble for the rest of the qualifying campaign.

“You looked at the group and you probably would have viewed them as one of the favourites so it’s great to come here and take three points; that’s backed up a few good results before this game so everything’s looking good at the moment.”

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