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INPHO/Morgan Treacy Mick McCarthy and Alan Judge on the training ground ahead of Ireland's recent games against Gibraltar and Georgia.
# International Affairs
McCarthy assures Judge that League One football won't harm his Ireland hopes
The midfielder has signed a two-year contract extension at Ipswich Town, who are set for relegation.

ALAN JUDGE ADMITS that he wouldn’t have committed his future to Ipswich Town if it risked his international prospects.

Twelve months since they parted company with Mick McCarthy, Ipswich are on the verge of relegation to League One.

Despite ending a 12-match winless run by defeating Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, the Tractor Boys continue to prop up the Championship. With just six games remaining, Paul Lambert’s side are 13 points adrift of safety.

In spite of their impending drop to the third tier of English football, Alan Judge penned a new contract last week which will keep him at Portman Road until 2021 at least.

Although he was unable to lift Ipswich away from relegation trouble, the 30-year-old creative midfielder has made a good impression since joining on a short-term deal from Brentford in January.

Judge, who was a member of the Ireland squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia, has won five senior caps to date. A recent conversation with manager Mick McCarthy assured him that he can still add to that tally.

McCarthy has illustrated his willingness to acknowledge League One players, with the likes of Luton Town striker James Collins and Charlton Athletic midfielder Josh Cullen linking up with the squad for last month’s double header. 

Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship - Portman Road EMPICS Sport Ipswich Town's Alan Judge (left) tangles with Barry Bannan of Sheffield Wednesday. EMPICS Sport

“He [McCarthy] said that [playing in League One] would be no problem and that as long as I keep performing then I’m in the shop window for him,” Judge said in an interview with the East Anglian Daily Times.

“He said he’d been picking players from League One this year and knows what I’m like as a player. That made it easy once he gave the go-ahead on that front.”

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Asked if his international future was a “deal breaker” when it came to signing a new deal at Ipswich, Judge said: “It was in my mind. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I think that speaks for the way Mick is.”

Judge will come up against his former club tomorrow night when Ipswich travel to face Brentford in the Championship.

While his side appear doomed to relegation, he’ll nevertheless hope to impress Mick McCarthy over the coming weeks as the Ireland boss looks ahead to the June qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar.

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