Derby County’s Richard Keogh says he’s determined make sure he’s part of the final Republic of Ireland squad to reach this summer’s UEFA European Championships.
The 29-year-old is currently part of the provisional Ireland party to take on the Netherlands in Dublin on Friday (27th May, 7:45pm kick-off).
The game is the last opportunity for members of Martin O’Neill’s squad to impress before he names his final squad for the tournament in France next month.
Keogh impressed during Ireland’s qualifying campaign, which was secured via the play-off route against Bosnia & Herzegovina back in November.
The centre-back was an ever-present in the Rams’ league and play-off campaign and hopes he has done enough to feature in his first-ever major tournament.
Keogh told Rams Player HD: “I’ve rested up for a few days and now I’m looking forward to the game against the Netherlands, which is a big part of our preparation.
“The squad gets narrowed down after that so I hope I can get into the final squad and go to France.
“To go to any major tournament is a massive experience and it will be amazing for me if I get there.”
Ireland face the daunting prospect of taking on Sweden, Italy and Belgium in the group stages of the tournament.
However, Keogh says it’s a challenge that everyone in the Ireland camp should rise to.
They can also head into the tournament with nothing to fear after defeating World Champions Germany and overcoming a tough two-legged play-off test against Bosnia & Herzegovina to reach the finals.
He said:“We have a tough group but we like to defy the odds and anything is possible.
“We were written off after we drew at home to Scotland last June, but we never stopped believing and we kicked on.
“A few results went our way and then we beat Germany. We never looked back and we were so focused in the Play-Offs and the feeling that brought was something that I will never forget.”
He added: “Every tournament deserves the Ireland fans and I know that they are looking forward to it.
“Everyone loves the Irish fans. The demand has been so high for tickets and I am sure we will see a sea of green everywhere. It will be a great experience for us as players and the fans too.”
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