JIMMY DUNNE has revealed he has been picking the brains of Hearts skipper Christophe Berra in a bid to get onside with new Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.
Berra played under McCarthy for four years at Ipswich Town and has been able to tell his team-mate just what to expect after the 59-year-old took over the international side for the second time at the weekend.
Dunne, who has also been courted by Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill, received his first full call-up from the Republic earlier this month after the initial disappointment of being cut from Martin O’Neill’s provisional squad.
And, despite only making the substitute’s bench for the goalless draw with Denmark in the Nations League, the 21-year-old admits being included has whetted his appetite for life under new manager McCarthy.
Talking of his on-off call-up, he said: “I was really happy, really disappointed and then incredibly happy again.
“I got that experience and got to travel with the squad, and see how things work. I gained valuable experience and saw how international players do things and how international managers do things.
“Whether I played or not, just the experience of it was good enough for me, for now.
“It gives me a taste of it and makes me want to go again and play better again and get back into that opportunity again.
“I spoke to Christophe and he said [Mick McCarthy] likes defenders, like Christophe, who will defend well and head everything in the air and probably keep it simple when it comes to ball-playing.
“If I can keep doing that, keep heading it, keeping being aggressive, keep trying to defend well then hopefully that gets noticed.”
For now, Dunne’s concentration is on trying to help Hearts snap out of a dismal run that has seen them lose their last three matches and fail to score in their last five outings.
The Tynecastle side have been overtaken in the Premiership table by Rangers but have an instant opportunity to reverse that when the teams face each other in the capital on Sunday.
Dunne scored when Rangers won 3-1 at Ibrox last month and is confident he can help end the Jambos’ scoring drought.
He added: “Lightning can strike twice, maybe not in the same place, but this is in Tynecastle.
“If I can keep adding to the goals then great, but I think we need to concentrate on clean sheets for a little while, because they haven’t gone so great lately.
“If we can keep a clean sheet then we will definitely score.
“All the thought about previous fixtures and future fixtures will just go out the window and out of everyone’s minds for games like this.
“It’s just about concentrating this week on how we can get a really positive result against Rangers.
“The lads won’t need any more motivation other than results haven’t gone great and we want to beat Rangers.”
Meanwhile, manager Craig Levein revealed recently that Hearts have agreed ‘in principle’ with Burnley to extend Dunne’s loan beyond the current deal’s expiry in January.
However, the Drogheda-born player is adamant he will put a fresh agreement on the back burner to help the Jambos through their current travails.
He told Hearts TV: “It’s all happening so quickly, it’s next game, next game, next game, and I’m really enjoying being a Hearts player and being here right now.
“But I’m not thinking too far into the future and what’s going to happen in January or the summer or what the next chapter is.
“All I know is there’s a lot of games that I have to play well in and if I start to think too much about where I’m going in January then I might take my eye off the ball a little bit.
“So, I’m just going to concentrate game by game and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”