Thursday, February 22, 2024
SportHeartsHearts star discusses tense World Cup phone call as dream comes true

Hearts star discusses tense World Cup phone call as dream comes true

HEARTS star Cammy Devlin admits he shed tears of joy after learning that his World Cup dream had become a reality.

Devlin was told in a telephone conversation with Australia manager Graham Arnold on Monday that he was part of the 26-man squad heading to Qatar later this month.

Already on cloud nine, the elation felt by the 24-year-old was then enhanced upon discovering that Tynecastle team-mates Kye Rowles and Natty Atkinson had also made the cut.

Of the three, Devlin’s inclusion was probably the least expected given he only made his full debut – his only cap to date – in September’s friendly win over New Zealand.

Australia national team squad.
Devlin is one of seven SPFL-based players in the Socceroos squad.

However, the diminutive playmaker has been one of Hearts’ stand-out performers this season, demonstrating poise and grit in equal measure on both domestic and European scene.

“I don’t cry often but if there’s one time in your life that you probably can share a bit of emotion then it’s getting called up for a World Cup,” said Devlin, who is targeting three Premiership points at Rangers this evening.

“I couldn’t control myself. I was jumping around the gaff, so happy.

“The manager sent me a message on Monday around lunch time saying ‘can I call you in 15 minutes?’

“It was the longest 15 minutes of my life! 

“I was sitting staring at my phone on my couch. You just don’t know what he’s going to say, you literally have no idea.

“Then he called back and said: ‘I’m just wondering what you’re up to in the next couple of weeks?’

“I told him: ‘it depends what you tell me right now!’

“That’s when he broke the news and it’s one of the best feelings I’ve had in my life. It’s a dream come true.

“I woke the parents up in the middle of the night back home so they knew and everyone was so happy.”

Devlin, who signed from Newcastle Jets in his homeland in summer 2021, is naturally thrilled he will share the experience with his club team-mates.

“It would have been such a shame if one or two of us were to miss out,” added Devlin.

“For all three of us to go is massive.

“All three of us live in the same block of apartments. I got the first call and you don’t want to text the others in case they’ve had bad news then you feel like a d***head.

“I got my call, then me and Kye were going for a coffee so I wasn’t going to hang out with him and not share my news.”

This week will go down as the apex in Devlin’s life, however, the Sydney-born player admits he felt much differently after his last game against Rangers on October 1.

Devlin was sent off six minutes before half-time for a reckless challenge on Rabbi Matondo. Hearts conceded a further two goals in a 4-0 loss.

“You probably don’t get much higher than this (World Cup call-up) but I have got to come straight back down.” he added.

“The last Rangers game was probably the lowest point of my career, I have never felt like that before.

“It was a silly, silly thing on my behalf that I’d like to show I have learned from.

“I watched it back about 500 times. It kept me up for too many nights.

“The way I play is aggressive and tenacious and you are going to miss tackles, but looking back it’s a learning curve.”

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson, whose team have won three of their last four games, signed Devlin, Atkinson and Rowles and is now looking forward to watching how they fare on football’s biggest stage.

“I’m delighted for the three of them, they took the chance to come over here, half way around the world and the objective was always to get into the national team, or stay in the national team and they’ve managed to do so,” he said. 

“It’s great for them and the club.

“It’s great all three are going. When we were looking at the squads, Kye and Natty played quite a bit, Cammy was the one that was probably borderline but his performances in Europe have merited inclusion because he has shown he can play in big games.

“It’s great, it gives us players to support over there, we’ll watch the game and hopefully they’ll do well.”

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