Newly-appointed Ireland under-21 captain Shane Duffy has expressed his desire to stake a claim for a place in Giovanni Trapattoni's senior squad, but acknowledged that he needs to be playing regularly.
The 21-year-old Everton centre back was first involved with Trapattoni's team just under three years ago in May 2010 and was called up in February 2012 as a replacement for Richard Dunne, but has yet to make his senior debut for the Boys in Green.
"[Trapattoni] telephoned me before the Greece game in November, saying I needed regular games to get into the squad. Hopefully as soon as I’m getting matches on loan, I'll be in the senior squad," Duffy told the Irish Examiner.
"I'd come into the senior squad at 17 after I'd just changed over from Northern Ireland. It was the time I'd broken into the Everton team for the first team too, so the Ireland manager wanted to see me. That was a big step-up but I want to get back there as soon as I can."
The Toffees defender revealed that he had the chance to join Championship side Middlesbrough on loan at the beginning of the season, but was not allowed to leave Goodison Park, as David Moyes wanted to retain him as cover. However, he is hopeful of securing a move when the loan window reopens.
He said: "I had a chance to go to Middlesbrough at the start of the season but the manager needed me as cover because Tony Hibbert got injured.
"The loan window reopens this Thursday and I'll likely move to a Championship club then. I must have been on the Everton bench for 40 games this season!"
Meanwhile Ireland under-21 boss Noel King believes that the forthcoming game against the Netherlands will give him a 'good indication' of where his squad is at ahead of the qualification round for the 2015 Uefa Under-21 European Championships.
"It's a good match for us," King told the Irish Times. "It will give us a good indication of where we are although the draw was good for us in the sense that we have no games in March or June which means we'll get a few more friendlies under our belts before the qualifiers start against the autumn."
Republic of Ireland under-21s face the Netherlands in a friendly international at Tallaght Stadium on Wednesday February 6. Kick off 13.00 BST.