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Galway born full back hopes that he can play his way into Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni's plans, but says he must leave Eastlands first

Ireland defender Greg Cunningham has stated his hope that he can contribute to the Ireland team in the coming year and believes that he needs to leave Manchester City in order to 'start making a name for himself'.

Speaking to the Evening Herald, the Galway born left-back detailed his experience with the under-21s, after captaining Noel King's side in games against Denmark and a draw at home to Italy in a Uefa under-21 European Championships qualifier.

However, his ultimate aim is to be involved with the senior squad. Giovanni Trapattoni handed Cunningham his debut for the Boys in Green in May 2010 in a friendly against Algeria and the left back is anxious for more senior action.

"Hopefully a slot or two could open up in the squad and I feel I can contribute," said Cunningham.

He continued: "It was a huge honour for me to captain the [under-21] team for the last two games. We had a good result at home to Italy and if we beat Turkey in the next qualifier in August we have a great chance of qualifying for the finals.

"I want to push on to the seniors but I am enjoying the games with the U21s," he added.

The defender also believes that the under-21 squad is formidable and says that one or two players could push on to earn senior caps.

"We have a very strong U21 squad now," he said. "A lot of us have been together since we were under-14s and I'd love to see lads like Robbie Brady and Shane Duffy come through and try to catch Trapattoni's eye."

And despite the criticism levelled at the senior team for becoming the first team to be eliminated from Euro 2012, Cunningham believes that the Boys in Green did 'reasonably well'.

"The next campaign starts in September and I hope I can get in," he said.

"I know people have been down since the Euros but you only have to look at the final and see that the two teams who got to the final both came from our group so I think we did reasonably well."

And Cunningham knows that in order to merit a place in the Ireland squad, he needs to be playing regularly.

"I need to get out and get playing games," Cunningham told the Herald. "And I don't think my future is at Manchester City as things stand."

He added:"I need to start making a name for myself."

The 21-year-old full back has been with City since 2007, joining from League of Ireland side Mervue United, but has only made two league appearances for the Eastlands club.

And having experienced a full season on loan with Nottingham Forest in the Championship, the Galway lad is keen for more first team football.

"It would be tough to leave as I have been at City for a long time, since I went to England in the first place, and they have made me the player I am today," admitted the defender.

"I will be sad to leave but for the sake of myself and my own career, I have to move on and get playing, and I am not going to get many games at City."

He continued: "I enjoyed last season at [Nottingham] Forest. Playing every week was a great experience and I need the same for the coming season. I need to get 25 games or so at least under my belt to stay sharp.

"Realistically, I am not going to get that at City, so it looks like I will have to move on. Whether that is in the form of another season-long loan deal or a permanent move away remains to be seen, but I need to get out and get playing.

Cunningham stated that ambition is the reason behind his eagerness for a move, but also conceded that he was unlikely to make the breakthrough at Manchester City, who will probably add to their squad after their Premier League success.

He said: "I am 21 now, I'm not a kid any more and I need to get my career moving. It's been brilliant to be at City for so long, I have learned a lot at the club and it's a brilliant place to learn your trade.

"But I am ambitious for myself. I want to do well at club level and I want to get back into the Ireland squad, and that's not going to happen if I am stuck in the reserves,"

"My agent has been speaking to the club and I hope that something will be arranged soon enough, whether that's a loan or a long-term move," concluded the left back.