Ireland and Derby County midfielder Jason Knight (file pic). Ryan Byrne/INPHO
On the Knight train

Ireland's newest senior international has enjoyed 'a crazy 18 months'

Nineteen-year-old Jason Knight won his first cap in last Wednesday’s defeat to Finland.

JASON KNIGHT IS determined to ensure that his appearance in last Wednesday’s game against Finland will go down as the first of many Republic of Ireland senior caps.

At the age of 19, Knight became Ireland’s newest senior international when he was introduced as an 84th-minute substitute in the Uefa Nations League fixture.

West Bromwich Albion defender Dara O’Shea also won his first cap on the night, having started in the 1-0 defeat.

The milestone came as a surprise to Knight, who was in Italy preparing to play for the Ireland U21s when he was summoned for the game in Helsinki by senior boss Stephen Kenny.

Forty-eight hours later, he was back in England playing all 90 minutes for Derby County against Watford in the Championship, a game which also ended in a 1-0 loss for the Rams. Nevertheless, it’s a week that the young Dubliner will remember fondly.

“It has been a bit of a whirlwind week,” Knight told RamsTV. “I started with the U21s and ended up in Finland with the first team.

“There were a few Covid-19 cases and I got drafted, and a couple of other lads were as well. I trained with the senior team for a couple of days, then came on and made my debut.

“It was a really good experience, first of all to play with these players that you have looked up to. Now it is just about trying to stay in there.

derby-county-v-watford-sky-bet-championship-pride-park Knight playing for Derby County against Watford on Friday. PA PA

“I was lucky enough to come on and make my full debut. I was delighted, obviously not with the result, but to come on and make my debut was a special moment.

“It was a huge moment and what I have strived towards since I was a little boy. It was a special moment for me and my family.”

Knight only made his competitive debut in senior football in August of last year, when Phillip Cocu brought him off the bench for Derby County’s opening game of the 2019-20 season – a 2-1 win against Huddersfield Town.

Since then, he has played a total of 42 first-team games for the Rams. The former Cabinteely youngster also made his U21 debut with Ireland in 2019, playing seven times under Stephen Kenny before his graduation to the senior set-up last week.

Knight added: “It has been a crazy 18 months. I just need to keep going and see where that takes me. I need to keep performing well at Derby and hopefully I can get called-up again.”

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