DERRY CITY winger Joshua Daniels admits he just wants to play international football after receiving a call-up to the Republic of Ireland’s U21 home based squad.
The 20-year-old has decided to switch his allegiance from Northern Ireland to the Republic and can’t wait to get some action next week as Noel King’s side face an Ireland Amateur side in a training game in Dublin’s AUL Complex on Saturday, February 11.
“It’s a weird one because I was in the U19s when I was 18 and 19 for the North, but I just haven’t been called up in two years,” he said.
“I was seeing other boys who were getting called into squads and that was fair enough, but I was thinking I’m playing in the League of Ireland, we’re playing down South and most of the people who are going to be watching our games are going to be from Republic of Ireland or FAI.
“Then I got a phone call one day, saying that they thought I was doing well and they wanted me in their squad, so it took a while to get there but it’s finally through and I just can’t wait to play.
“I just want to play international football. I told Northern Ireland that if it had have been the other way about I would have done the exact same thing. I want to play football whether it’s with the U21’s with the Republic or U21’s for Northern Ireland it didn’t matter, whoever was first to come and that’s what I made clear.
“I’m not switching because it’s the Republic of Ireland, I’m switching because I haven’t been called up (for Northern Ireland) in two years and I want to play international football.”
Daniels, who along with City team-mates Ben Doherty and Ronan Curtis are in King’s squad, can’t wait for the game.
“We are friends in and out of football so I can’t wait and I think it’s massive for us,” he added.
“We are all in and around senior football, we’re enjoying ourselves and I can’t wait to go down to Dublin, take part in the training and hopefully play in the match and I think we’ll do alright.”
I’m not switching because it’s the Republic of Ireland, I’m switching because I haven’t been called up (for Northern Ireland) in two years and I want to play international football.Joshua Daniels
The talented winger is looking to play a bigger role in Kenny Shiels’ City side this season and he accepts he may have to adapt his game to play in different positions.
The 20-year-old, who netted his first goal for his home town club in their dramatic 2-2 draw with Finn Harps last May, concedes that he will have to prepare for a wing-back role.
“Getting into Noel King’s squad is a bonus on top of getting into the first team with Derry,” he said.
“I think when you are in and around the senior squad you get these wee bonuses, especially if you are playing in a side which has had a good couple of wins and a good couple of performances.
“Whether it’s playing wing-back, or centre midfield or attacking midfield or wherever it does you the world of good, so I’m looking forward to the U21 squad, but hopefully there’s more.
“Look if Kenny (Shiels) plays three at the back then there’s wing-back positions and the way things are looking I’ll have to play wing-back, but that’s no bother. I’ll play left-back if he wanted me too.
“This season is all about trying to get a wee run of games more than anything because I was in and out and came off the bench a few times last season along with a good few starts, so I do want to be in maybe even half a season and then look at it.
“Then I’ll say ‘this is what I need to improve on’, but it’s up to me really because obviously it’s me who is playing and training and hopefully I can give Kenny some food for thought, but yeah it’s a massive year for me.
“This will be my fourth season and anyone that comes in gets a chance and I think that’s why we do so well, because it takes pressure off all the young boys. They know they are going to be given a chance.
“So we aren’t just thrown in for the last game of the season, you are going to get drip fed into it; especially when you are in training because we don’t have a massive squad but we have a tight-knit squad and I think that benefits everybody.”