The former Arsenal midfielder represented England as a youth player, and was thus denied the opportunity to represent Ireland – a decision he sorely regrets.
The man responsible for leading Reading back into the Premier League has explained that he feels closer to Ireland than to his English birthplace, and that his commitment to England was a result of youthful naivety.
Speaking on Irish radio station RTÉ Radio, McDermott explained: "My mum is from Clare and my dad is from Sligo. Growing up in England I supported Sligo Rovers.
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"It was Don Howe that suggested I play for the English youths. Don was a big influence at Arsenal at the time, and I was a 17-year-old lacking in confidence, so I just went along with what he said. I suppose I was pressurised into doing it.
"Kenny Sansom, who was a senior player with Arsenal at the time, said that I would go on to play U-21 and then become a full England international. Of course, things are different today, as players can switch allegiance.
"A couple of years later I realised it was a big mistake. I live in England, and I’m not ashamed of that, but being Irish is in my blood."
The LMA Championship’s Manager of the Year then revealed that he wished to redeem himself by one day taking charge of The Boys in Green.
"Ever since then it has been a goal of mine to manage Ireland," he continued.
"It was an error on my part to line-out for England, and I have told my friends that. You have career paths in life – and I’m determined to realise my long-hold ambition."