Paul Green Aims to Seize Chance
Paul Green's summer took a massive turn for the better when he received a last-gasp call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad for the Euro 2012 finals.
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The 29-year-old midfielder thought his chances of heading to the finals had gone when he was named only on Giovanni Trapattoni's stand-by list, with his domestic future also uncertain after failing to agree a new deal with Derby.
However, Keith Fahey's misfortune when he was forced to withdraw from the squad with a groin problem on Saturday evening provided Green with an opportunity he intends to grab with both hands.
News of his elevation came as he enjoyed a family barbecue and sparked a mad rush to join up with his team-mates.
Green said: "I got off the phone and told my parents, because I was round there at a family barbecue, and they just started screaming and hugging me and kissing me and saying they were so proud of me.
"It's a great achievement to get in the squad because there are some good players here.
"I am obviously gutted for Keith Fahey, who has been in every squad. I room with him and I am just absolutely gutted for him, but delighted for myself."
Green was a regular member of Trapattoni's squad before a knee ligament injury left him facing a long battle back to full fitness.
He did not make the party for February's friendly against the Czech Republic, and when his name was not included among the 23 men announced by the Italian on May 7, he thought that was that.
But having belatedly received his ticket for Poland and Ukraine, he had little time to savour his reprieve ahead of Sunday's departure for the Republic's training camp in Tuscany .
Green said: "I got the phone call at about 9pm, left there about 10pm, 11pm.
"I got back to Derby in an hour, got my stuff ready, got to bed about 1am and was then up at 4am, on the plane at 6am, into Dublin Airport and met up with all the lads at about 9.30am, then straight over here."
However, while injury might have cast Green in the role of forgotten man, he revealed that Trapattoni kept tabs on him throughout his recovery and rehabilitation, and that proved a huge motivation.
He said: "When I was injured, he kept ringing me and texting me to see how I was getting on, and it was nice to get those calls.
"It's nice to be rated by the manager because he has done a lot in the game and has still got the desire and passion to do well for the country.
"It's massive, and it shows in his team."
Trapattoni has confirmed Green will get some game-time in Tuesday night's outing against a Tuscan Select side at the Stadio Melani in Pistoia as he attempts to get himself back up to speed, although he is confident he is not far away after looking after himself even during a family holiday.
He said: "I got away to Cyprus with the family for the first week after we finished the season and still ticked over over there. I did a few runs and kept myself in good shape just in case."
Had the call come any later, however, Green might have found himself having to cancel plans for a further break.
He said: "I was actually about to book something this week with my fiancee and my little girl, so I'm obviously glad I didn't book that. It's great to be out here."
Whatever happens during the next few weeks, Green will not be playing his football at Pride Park next season, although he is prepared to leave that side of things to his agent as he concentrates on his job for Ireland.
He said: "At the moment, I have left Derby and I am just looking for a club now. My agent is on to it and I think I have got a few clubs interested in me.
"But I have just got to concentrate on things out here now and put that to the back of my mind, and hopefully it will sort itself out when I get back."