Robbie Brady is ready to start his international career and is looking to the future with his country ahead of the upcoming matches against Scotland and Armenia.
The versatile midfielder has not played a game for the Republic of Ireland in 18 months, since his appearance at the start of the ill-fated 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Returning to the international window in March 2021, Brady was involved in the opening 3-2 defeat away in Serbia as well as a shock 1-0 home loss to Luxembourg at Aviva Stadium.
Dublin then started the international friendly away game against Qatar – the match played in Hungary – before swaying through injury after 21 minutes of play, having been involved in Ireland’s goal early in the game.
Brady’s injury problems persisted throughout, as he left Burnley for Bournemouth for the championship’s off season, before signing with Preston North End over the summer.
But now, after a consistent start to the season at his new club, Brady appears to be back to his best, and has been rewarded with a call-up to Ireland ahead of the final two games of this year’s UEFA Nations League campaign.
It’s been a long time coming,” Brady said at a news conference Monday in Abbotstown. “It’s great to be back here. You can just pick up where you left off, and the boys seem happy to have me back.”
“I am happy to be here. I hope to have a good week.”
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A tough time away from the game, and Brady admitted that it was also difficult to watch international events from outside. However, he said he never doubted that he would again have the opportunity to go back to wearing green.
“No,” Brady said, when asked if he feels he won’t be returning to the team. “Obviously it’s hard when you’re outside, and it’s hard to miss outings, but my body wasn’t behaving by itself.
“That’s the hardest part of it all, the mental side of it. When you’re younger, you just ignore things, and deal with them.”
“When you’re done with some long-term task, it’s hard. You know what you want to do but at certain times your body just won’t let you do it. Like I said, I’m in a good fit a healthy place now and pleasing God behind me.”
“It was hard [being without a club at the start of last season]. I’ve already had quite a few offers around the transfer window, but I wasn’t ready to go somewhere and start.
“I left it as late as possible with Damian [Doyle, FAI Head of Athletic Performance] He gave me the option to work with him again here, which is great, and I was able to move when I closed the window.
“Obviously it’s not nice when you’re not ready to go somewhere, but things are going well. I’m back to play and I’m back which makes me happy.”
“I was able to get a lot of off-season work. To be fair, Damien helped me rehab, and this summer, I did a lot of off-season work and hit the ground running in the pre-season.
“Everything has been fine so far, for a long time let it go.”
Part of the Bournemouth side that secured a safe passage back to the Premier League after finishing second last season, however, Brady was released at the end of his contract after only appearing in a few games for the Cherries side.
He had in fact had to undergo a trial period with his new club before signing for the new season and while it was often players unwilling to do, he made it clear that it was an arrangement that suited both the club and the player.
“No, it was where I was,” Brady said, when asked if it was weird to go to trial.
“The manager phoned me and said ‘We’re going to have a chance to see where you are physically, and you can come over and look at us and see if you like it as a club and the way we’re trying to do things.
“It was very clear when I went in, there were a lot of factors that suited me and I’m happy with it and like I said I’m getting the minutes, which I need.”
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Follow the Republic of Ireland vs Scotland match on Saturday (kick-off at 7.45pm) via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sports and the RTÉ News app, watch live on RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player, or listen to national radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1