Meyler aiming to take chance
David Meyler has vowed to make sure his call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad will be the first of many as he looks make his international debut after recovering from two serious knee injuries.
- Related Content
Big things were expected of Meyler when he joined Sunderland from Cork City as an 18-year-old and he became a regular part of the first-team under Steve Bruce in the 2009-10 season before he was sidelined with cruciate knee ligament damage.
The injury, suffered in a game against Manchester United, sidelined him for seven months and also meant he had to withdraw from the Republic's squad for their internationals against Algeria and Paraguay.
The midfielder returned to action quicker than expected and went on to start four games the following season, but he cruelly suffered the same injury again just three weeks after he made his comeback.
Following nine months on the treatment table Meyler made his second comeback for the Black Cats and earned a call-up from Giovanni Trapattoni for Friday's World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan following Darron Gibson's refusal to play for the Republic head coach.
With Paul Green injured and Keith Andrew suspended, there is a chance that Meyler could start in midfield on Friday, or against Oman in their friendly the following Tuesday, and he is determined to make an impact.
"With suffering two serious injuries in the last two years obviously it's vital I make an impression to ensure that he keeps me in the squad," Meyler told a press conference.
"I obviously want to stay here. I don't want to be called up and never get the call again so I have to take every training session like it's my last and if I get the opportunity to play in either of the two games I have to make an impression."
Meyler's recovery from both injuries has not been easy. The Black Cats midfielder put in 10 hour-shifts at Sunderland's training ground to make sure he would make a full recovery.
He kept his spirits up by forming a close friendship with Fraizer Campbell, who was recovering from a similar injury, and by going to watch the Sunderland home and away.
His three appearances for the Wearsiders this season have been enough to persuade Trapattoni that he is ready for international football and Meyler is happy that all his hard graft was worth it.
"To get this opportunity is brilliant. It has shown that all the hard work I put in during the 18 months that I was injured has paid off," Meyler added.
"I worked really hard through both summers to get fit, but it didn't bother me because I was looking at the bigger goal of getting back fit.
"I learned to appreciate my life a lot more during that time. I was coming in at 8am and finishing at 6pm every day.
"On Saturday I would start training at 7am and then jump in the car and drive to Manchester or to London to watch Sunderland play. I'd sit with the away fans. Then you do start to appreciate it a bit more and that's why I was delighted that I was called up again."
The Republic will have to fight hard if they are to make it to Brazil 2014 after they were hit by the retirement of Shay Given and Damien Duff.
Trapattoni's side have also been drawn in a group that contains Germany, Sweden and Austria, but there is no doubt about Meyler's determination to qualify for the World Cup despite the difficulty of what lies head.
"As a kid I wished to play for Ireland every day of my life," Meyler said.
"I remember watching them at the World Cup in 1994 when I was five years old.
"(Playing in a World Cup) is what I have dreamed about since I was young so of course it would mean a lot to me, and it would mean so much for the entire country."