Playing for Ireland is 'the pinnacle' says Reading defender Stephen Kelly

The former Fulham full back has been given a 'break' from international duty but is eager to make a return to the squad sooner rather than later
Reading defender Stephen Kelly is hoping that regular football with his new club will aid his international career with the Republic of Ireland.

Along with LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane, the 29-year-old full back was not included by Giovanni Trapattoni in the squad to face Poland on February 6 and was instead  granted a 'break' by the Ireland boss.

However, Kelly, who has 32 caps for Ireland, views playing for his country as 'the pinnacle' and is eager to force his way back into the squad.

"I have been in the set-up since the age of 20. I have always been involved. Last year I played every game," he told the Irish Independent. "Hopefully if I play more [at Reading] it will give me more opportunities to play for Ireland.

"That's something I love doing. I know people don't see it that way, but for me it's the pinnacle. It's a fantastic opportunity to represent my country."

Meanwhile, Everton defender Seamus Coleman and Bolton Wanderers midfielder Keith Andrews may both find themselves ruled out of Ireland's World Cup qualifiers in March against Sweden and Austria.

Andrews is expected to be out for six to eight weeks after a scan revealed that he had sustained a 'Grade Two' quad muscle tear, while Coleman is currently awaiting results of a scan on an injury after he limped off during Everton's 0-0 draw with Southampton on Monday January 21.