Shane Duffy reaped the rewards of four years’ hard work when he was handed his senior debut for the Republic of Ireland on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Everton defender lined up against Costa Rica in Philadelphia during the early hours of Saturday morning to end a long journey back to international prominence.
Duffy had been promised his first senior cap by then manager Giovanni Trapattoni in an end-of-season friendly against Paraguay back in 2010 when he suffered an horrific training ground injury which left him with a lacerated liver and fighting for his life.
He has spent the time since working his way back, and his industry finally paid off at the PPL Stadium.
Duffy said: “It’s been a long four years. I don’t know, I was just focusing on club football to see if I could get back to where I was, and hopefully this season I have shown that.
“Playing the other night was sort of a reward for four years ago, what happened, so I was
“I am made up to be even in the squad, so to play was a dream. Obviously when you start playing football, you want to play for your country, so I was delighted when it actually came. I thought I did all right in the game, some good things, some bad things.”