Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick is set to receive his 50th cap for the Republic of Ireland on September 5, Within their European Qualifier against Switzerland, live on Sky Sports.
Even the 27-year-old has represented his country at every level since busting out in U15 level, scoring two aims in an worldwide career spanning – his last in the 1-0 triumph over Gibraltar in March.
Hendrick, who’s just played for the Clarets at the Premier League this year but has started each of the Republic’s opening four qualifiers, said:”I always say as a kid, my dream was to pull on the Ireland jersey and play to my country.
“All going well, hopefully I can get to 50. It’d be fantastic. It is a huge thing to me and for my family.
“To play nearly 50 times for the country was brilliant. It has been tough as well – we’ve experienced some games that are not-so-good.
“But I try to recall all the positives from every game and the outcomes that we’ve obtained and there have been some very memorable ones”
The first Republic of Ireland appearance of hendrick came as a substitute in a 2-0 friendly victory over Poland in 2013.
When asked if he can keep in mind that game, Hendrick said:”Yes. I didn’t know whether I went to perform or get on, and it was excellent to have the match in Dublin. I think I had to order 30 tickets for that match.
“However, it was good to have my entire loved ones there and get a time on the pitch”
Republic of Ireland are top of Group D at the race to qualify five points ahead of second-placed Denmark, who played a game more.
Mick McCarthy’s men can open up a nine-point gap over their competitors and confront Switzerland on Thursday.
Hendrick insists Ireland needs to build in their early momentum, saying:”It’s definitely going to be tough. We’ve watched them and they’re a good team. They have good players and they move the ball nicely.
“But they are coming here to play us and we’ve done really well here. We wish to keep that and we want to play our game.
“Just as we will need to stop their strengths, we need to do exactly what we’re capable of.”