Doherty happy to fill in at the front
Canaries stopper Gary Doherty has refused to rule out a return to emergency striker duties for his country. The Republic of Ireland international is in Germany for this evening's opening European Championship qualifying clash, where he knows that Steve Staunton may have a very different attitude towards his role than Norwich boss Nigel Worthington.
Canaries stopper Gary Doherty has refused to rule out a return to emergency striker duties for his country.
The Republic of Ireland international is in Germany for this evening's opening European Championship qualifying clash, where he knows that Steve Staunton may have a very different attitude towards his role than Norwich boss Nigel Worthington.
It was Worthington who only recently refused to contemplate using Doherty in a dual role, saying it would be unfair, but the 26-year-old has proved to be a more flexible commodity for his country, at least as far as previous managers Mick McCarthy and Brian Kerr were concerned.
Doherty now finds himself called up by Staunton for the first time - and admits that while he is a back-up for the preferred central defensive pairing of Andy O'Brien and Richard Dunne, any late appearance as a sub could be if the Irish are looking for a goal.
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“Look, I'm not stupid,” he said. “I've got 30 caps now and it's predominantly because I can play centre forward late in the game. It's not something I'm going to close the door on because I'm very proud of my caps and want to get more.
“I'm over the moon to be back. It was tough being out because obviously you want to play for your country, but I knew that if I got my head down and played well then hopefully the call will come.
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“I had a decent personal season last year and knew that if I did okay starting the new one then I could force my way back in. There was no reason for Steve to speak to me when I was out, when you're not in the squad you just need to work harder and thankfully I've got my place back.”
Doherty returns to face competition for the back-up role, with Preston's Sean St Ledger now in the squad. He's a player remembered by City fans most recently for the spectacular own goal he conceded in his team's 2-0 defeat at Carrow Road at the beginning of last month, but Doherty knows he provides tough competition.
“I thought he played well against us, I was quite impressed, and I've been impressed with him in training this week,” he said.
For now, both might have to settle for a role on the bench in Stuttgart.
“OB has always done well for Ireland and Dunney has had a great start to the new season and an excellent one last year so obviously it's going to be tough for me,” he said. “All I can do is try and put in some good performances and put a bit of pressure on them.”