Greg Cunningham admits he’s still walking on air after winning his first full cap for Ireland.
The City left-back played the full 90 minutes against Algeria and won praise from manager Giovanni Trapattoni, skipper Robbie Keane and Blues’ team-mate Shay Given after an assured debut.
“It was an amazing night, fantastic,” said Greg. “I had an idea I’d be playing after the training session we had on Thursday, but I wasn’t certain.
“I played at left-back with what was mostly the regular starting eleven, so I knew I must be in with a chance, but I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself until I found out for certain.
“Later, the team was pinned up and, thankfully, my name was on it so I called up my parents straight away and let them know. They were over the moon for me.
My dad told me to give it my all and just enjoy myself because it would be something I’d remember for the rest of my life – and he was right - I will
“It was great to see Shay Given before the game, too. He came into the dressing room before the start and wished me well and gave me some advice, which was really appreciated.”
Ireland won the game 3-0 – their biggest win for several years – and Cunningham looked confident and composed throughout – anything, in fact, but a debutant.
“The gaffer told me to relax and all the lads were great, too, so it was a terrific night all-round. In hindsight, there were one or two things I could have done better, but overall I’ve got to be happy,” he said.
City and Ireland keeper Shay Given was at the game as a pundit for Sky Sports and he was hugely impressed with Cunningham’s display.
“Greg’s been training with City’s first team squad for most of last season and he’s settled in really well,” he said.
“I’m delighted that he’s won his first cap because he’s one of the nicest blokes you’ll ever meet.
“I had a quick chat before the game and he was a bit nervous which is only to be expected but once the game got underway I thought he did really well.”