DANNY Rogers has spoken of his shock and delight at receiving his first Republic of Ireland call-up.
The Falkirk keeper, on a season-long loan from Aberdeen, has been drafted in by Martin O’Neill for the World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova next month.
The 22-year-old had initially been told he would be making his final appearance for his country’s under-21s but is instead readying himself for the possibility of his first full cap.
He said: “I’m really chuffed, I didn’t expect it at all. It’s great that Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane have noticed that I’m doing well and have given me a chance. Hopefully I can go in and show them what I can do.
“When I was told I was called up for the full squad I was delighted. It’s a great experience to look forward to it and it’s great that at the age of 22 I’ve been called up to the senior squad.
“I had absolutely no inkling it was coming, I took a call just as I came off the training pitch (on Friday morning). I was taken aback a bit by it. Hopefully I can keep going and stay in the squad.”
O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane regularly make the five-hour round trip from the full squad’s base in Dublin to Waterford in the south of Ireland to take in the under-21s’ matches.
And Rogers is now facing a nerve-racking experience next month after confessing he has felt the pressure of the pair’s presence at matches in the past.
He added: “Martin O’Neill comes and watches all the under-21s’ games and he was in the dressing room at the last game.
“He didn’t really say much to me because I’m a goalie but it’s good that he comes and watches.
“Him and Roy Keane were always there and that puts a bit of pressure on you.
“The crowds aren’t that big for under-21s games, just a couple of thousand – but when they’re there you feel like you’re playing in front of 15,000!”
Back at club level, Rogers is hoping Falkirk can extend their winning run at home against Ayr United after returning to last season’s form with a run of four straight wins.
The Irishman said: “We made a horrible start to the season and we were thinking ‘what’s going on here?’. Something needed to change and we’ve just clicked.
“It’s easy for people to doubt us after a few bad results. But I feel we’re back to the team we were last season and it’s coming together nicely.”