'An Irish-born player with the same ability as me would deserve to play over me' - Harry Arter

The Bournemouth midfielder believes the current management have got it ‘spot on’ in terms of picking the team.

Arter was in front of the media today.
Arter was in front of the media today.
Image: Brian Lawless

IT’S TWO YEARS since Harry Arter made his senior international debut for Ireland against England in Dublin.

At the time, there were high hopes that the Bournemouth midfielder could become a valuable asset to Martin O’Neill’s team, but a series of badly-timed injuries meant the 27-year-old wouldn’t feature in a competitive match until the famous 1-0 win in Vienna last November.

In a recent interview with, Arter admitted to finding it difficult to initially settle into the squad as an English-born member, who qualifies to represent the Boys in Green through his grandparents.

And speaking today ahead of this weekend’s World Cup qualifier away to Georgia, he suggested that a player born on these shores should be picked over one of equal talent who has been born elsewhere.

Harry Arter The Bournemouth midfielder (right) training alongside Cyrus Christie (left) and Richard Keogh (centre). Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“When I was called up for the first time, I had been at Bournemouth for seven years and coming to a new environment was different — let alone coming in with a group of players who had different accents to me,” Arter said after today’s training session in Dublin.

“The reason I was saying it was purely down to the fact that in an ideal world, a young lad grows up in Ireland, he comes through the ranks, through the Irish teams and plays for a local side. Best case scenario, he moves on to England or abroad, plays well and gets into the Irish senior side.

If that was the case and there was an English-born player who had the same ability as him and the English player was picked ahead of him, I would see that as a little bit unfair.

“One thing I would say, though, is that I think as a country and as a management, they have got it spot on in the sense that they pick players purely based on ability and if it is an English-born player that deserves to play, they play him.”

He later added: “What I was saying was that if there was an Irish player who has grown up here and is full Irish, and he had the exact same ability as me, I personally think that player would deserve to play over me because of the upbringing he has had and what he would have done for his local club and area.

“It would be much bigger and better for the country. The management team here and, as a country, we’ve got it spot on. They know when it’s the right time to play someone.”


Arter, who is likely to start in Tbilisi on Saturday, believes there is still more to come from him in a green shirt and he remains determined to establish himself as a regular under Martin O’Neill.

I feel I’ve got a lot to prove to try and cement myself in the team,” he said. “Every game and every training session is an opportunity for me to do that. Hopefully I get a chance on Saturday and if I do I’ll be trying to prove that.

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“I’ve got a few caps and played in the last game so I’m very pleased with that. For me, the hard work is just beginning, individually. I want to win as many caps as I can for Ireland and the only way I’m going to do that is by performing well.”

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