Rams forward Jamie Ward says he is relishing the prospect of adding to his two international caps to date, as Northern Ireland line up against Russia tonight.
Ward was called up for international duty for the start of Northern Ireland’s World Cup 2013 qualification campaign, for their matches away to Russia this evening and at home to Luxembourg on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old, who netted his first goal of the season in the Rams’ 5-1 victory over Watford last weekend, says he is hungry for more international caps and admits he hopes to establish himself as one of the key players for the Northern Irish national team.
He told dcfc.co.uk: “First and foremost I always want to play as much as possible for Derby County, and then international football is a bonus on top of that.
“There is a new manager now and so far I have been involved in all of his squads; I have not been to able to meet up every time because of injury, but it is nice to see I am in his plans.
“Hopefully I will get a lot more opportunities this year under this management team and in turn get a few more caps under my belt.
“I have made it no secret that I would like to get a few more caps for my country. If everything goes well and I am selected then I will be picking up my third and fourth caps against Russia and Luxembourg respectively.”
Also in Northern Ireland’s qualification group are Portugal, Israel and Azerbaijan, with the Green & White Army aiming to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Ward currently has two full caps to his name at international level – with his latest coming last month in Northern Ireland’s 3-3 friendly draw with Finland in Belfast.