Chris McCann still dreams of an Irish call-up

CLARETS captain Chris McCann admits he doesn’t want to look back on his career without having played for his country.

Friday, 7th October 2011, 10:07 am

He again has a watching brief this weekend as the Republic of Ireland face crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers in Andorra and at home to Armenia.

The 24-year-old played at Under 19 level, and was called up for the Under 21s four years ago.

However, a disagreement with Don Givens saw him leave the camp before a game with Bulgaria, and he has not featured at any level since.

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McCann decided to opt out of the Ireland squad two hours before the match, telling Givens he did not want to take his place on the bench.

A regular in the Burnley side in the Championship, McCann had been overlooked for a place in the starting line-up for the previous game with Montenegro, being left on the bench again against Bulgaria - with players from UCD and Bohemians selected ahead of him.

Givens subsequently said: “Will I pick him again? Would you?

“I said to him ‘have a think about it because it is obviously going to affect your future’.

“He said that he didn’t want to be in so I said to pack his things and go.”

And McCann has been an Ireland outcast ever since at senior level, with Steve Staunton and current coach Giovanni Trappatoni not so much as giving him a call-up to the squad.

It is something which has puzzled McCann’s Burnley managers, including one-time Ireland cap Owen Coyle, and asked if it still rankles, McCann admitted: “It would with the way it ended last time.

“Hopefully I can put that behind me.

“There’s a World Cup coming up and it would be nice to be involved in stuff like that.

“I don’t think you want to go out of your career without playing international football.”

McCann’s hopes have been raised with the signing of Keith Treacy, who, although not in the squad for this week’s internationals, has earned six caps with Eire since making his debut last August.

The skipper hopes to catch the eye of the scouts, and he smiled: “I played with Keith when we were with Ireland Under 21s.

“We were in the same squad.

“He’s an Irish international now. Hopefully that will bring a bit more attention to this club!

“Obviously he’ll bring a bit more attention from the Irish international scene.

“I look forward to hopefully get back playing well and force my way into the Republic of Ireland manager’s plans.

“It’s got to be an aim of mine, me pushing on.

“I want to play in the international side.”