Norwich City winger Anthony Pilkington committed to Irish cause

The Canaries winger has revealed that he has committed himself to the Boys in Green despite remaining eligible to represent England at senior international level
New Republic of Ireland call-up Anthony Pilkington says he is fully committed to the Irish cause.

The Norwich City winger won a solitary under-21 cap for Ireland in 2008 and even if Giovanni Trapattoni uses him against Poland in Dublin on Wednesday will still be eligible to play with England.

But the 24-year-old, who recently picked up his Irish passport and had been rumoured to be keen on a possible England call-up, says his only international ambition to play for the Boys in Green.

Asked if he might switch allegiance, Pilkington said: "Definitely not. That's it now. I made my mind up that I wanted to play for Ireland and that's what it will be from now on.

"There were little bits and pieces in the press. People were saying why hasn't he declared for one side but I hadn't spoken either to the FAI or the English set-up.

"And as soon as Ireland did get in touch, that's when I made my mind up that I wanted to play for them."

He continued: "I hoped [the call-up] would have been a bit sooner but obviously it wasn't to be. But I've been working hard and the manager has seen what I can do this season and hopefully I can prove that to everyone in Ireland if I get a chance on Wednesday."

The ex-Huddersfield player also revealed that Canaries manager and 53-cap Ireland international Chris Hughton encouraged him to commit to the Irish cause.

"He said it would be a good move," said Pilkington. "He talked to me a little bit about the country and about the fans and the set-up. And he congratulated me as soon as I got the news."

Ireland boss Trapattoni called Pilkington into the squad after visiting Carrow Road, where he also checked out the form of Wes Hoolahan, who won his second cap against Greece in November, and goalkeeper Mark Bunn, who, like Pilkington, has Irish grandparents.

Asked about team-mate Hoolahan, he said: "He's real quality. Some of the things he does with the ball and some of the situations he gets out of, his passing and dribbling – he's a really good player.

"The Norwich fans call him 'Wessi' down here, like Messi. He may not get as many goals but he plays in the pocket and he's really dangerous there and creates so many goals for the team.

"I can't speak highly enough of him – he's probably the best player I've played with up to now."

He also confirmed that he has spoken to Bunn about declaring for Ireland but the shot-stopper hasn’t made up his mind at the moment.

"I've not talked to him at great length about it but he was definitely considering it. I don’t know whether he's pushed it on or not just yet but I know he was thinking about it," he said.

The Republic of Ireland lie third in World Cup qualifying Group C behind Germany and Sweden, and face a crucial double-header against the Swedes and Austria in March. Pilkington added that qualification is still on the cards despite Germany and Sweden being favourites to go through to Brazil in 2014.

He said: "I think we've got a great chance. We've got a really good squad with new faces coming in, the likes of Wes who'll make any team better when he plays.

"So I think we've got the kind of squad than can challenge and hopefully we can put the performances in that will see us over the line."

Pilkington is expected to feature for the Republic of Ireland in the 'Three International Friendly' against Poland on Wednesday, February 6, which kicks off at 19.45 GMT at the Aviva Stadium. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please go to