Shane Duffy has revealed that going to Euro 2016 with the Republic of Ireland “would be a dream come true.”
The Blackburn Rovers defender picked up his second senior cap against Switzerland in March, but is determined to make Martin O'Neill's final squad for the European Championships.
“It would be a dream come true to go to a major tournament,” Duffy told reporters after Tuesday's training session with the Boys in Green.
“It’s what you want to do when you’re a professional footballer, but I’ve still got a bit of work to do, so It’s head down and I’ve to try focus and see what happens.
“You’ve got to take your chance and try not let the occasion get to you or do your chances any harm. I’m just trying to thrive off it and learn from the players who are here.”
The 24-year-old is joined in the Ireland squad by fellow centre-backs John O’Shea, Ciaran Clark and Richard Keogh, with all four expected to make the final 23 man squad at the end of the month, especially after Alex Pearce and Paul McShane were axed from Martin O’Neill’s provisional 35-man squad on Monday.
Duffy admitted that it was a big week for him personally, but hopes he can use the experience of missing out in 2012 as motivation to make the cut for this summer's competition.
“I probably wasn’t ready four years ago,” said the Derry native. “I was sat there watching the lads, and you want to go out and represent your country. I said I want to try my best to get to the next one, and if I can’t get to that I’ll try get to the one after that.
“It’s one of those things where I’m quite lucky to be here, and I’m fortunate the squad is still nowhere near being picked. I’ve just got to try my best this week. If the manager decides to take four of us I’ll be delighted, but I’m still a long way away. It’s a big week for me and hopefully I can do well.”
Meanwhile, Aston Villa defender Clark and Southampton striker Shane Long were both injury concerns from Tuesday’s session with Clark re-aggravating an ankle injury, while Long picked up a knock on his knee during a simulated training match.
Football Association of Ireland staff indicated that they have no major concerns over the duo, with Clark later confirming that he is "fine".
"At the end of the season I had a little knock, and I was just carrying that into the trip beforehand, so I just wanted to make sure it was alright before getting into the full swing of things, but it’s fine,” he confirmed.