Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter wants to make his daughter and family proud with the Republic Of Ireland squad at Euro 2016.
Harry and fiancé Rachel’s daughter Renee tragically passed away at birth in December, with the 26-year-old claiming he has found new meaning for the word ‘devastation’ after the loss.
“I want to try and do her proud,” an emotional Arter said.
“I want to try and make my family proud, it’s still pretty raw in a sense that it’s only been just over five months.
“I don’t mind talking about her, but of course I want to do her proud. In my eyes, and my family’s eyes, she was with us for nine months, and I’m proud to say she was my daughter and I want to do her proud if she’s watching.”
Arter will be battling midfielders James McCarthy, Glenn Whelan, Stephen Quinn, David Meyler, Eunan O’Kane, Darron Gibson and Jeff Hendrick for a place in O’Neill’s final 23 man squad, as the competition for places in the centre of midfield starts to intensify.
However, the Londoner admitted that missing out on the Ireland squad would not be comparable with the devastation his family suffered off the field.
“I wouldn’t want to really put them in the same category,” Arter revealed.
“Professionally I’d rather keep that different to my personal life, I couldn’t really even compare them in any sort of way.
“I’ve tried to stay professional throughout [this season], but lucky for me I’m passionate about football. I’ve had something to focus my mind on, let alone what happened, for some people it takes over their life.
“Before that, this would’ve been the be all and end all for me, if I didn’t get in the squad, I probably would’ve been devastated, but I certainly know what devastation means now, it’s a completely different meaning to me.
“If I did miss out it would be a disappointment, but certainly not devastation.”
Ireland boss Martin O’Neill said that he has not yet decided on his team for Friday’s game with the Netherlands, but that Arter will definitely start one of the two games against the Dutch or Belarus.