Date:Wednesday January 18 2006
Sunderland midfielder Liam Lawrence has revealed that he would love to be called up for the Republic of Ireland national side under new boss Steve Staunton.
The former Mansfield winger has admitted that he has recently applied for an Irish passport in the hope that his recent impressive performances for the Black Cats might catch the eye of the ROI new management team.
Despite being born of English parents Lawrence qualifies through his Irish grandfather, and revealed to the official website that it would be an honour for him to do so: 'It would be a fantastic challenge for me.
'It's important that I concentrate on Sunderland but if I do that and play well, I can only improve my chances of playing international football.'
Sunderland have in recent times held strong links with the Republic of Ireland, with ex-players such as Niall Quinn, Jason Mcateer and Kevin Kilbane all having worn the green jersey whilst at Sunderland. With the current Irish internationals at the club - Gary Breen and Stephen Elliot - not forgetting manager Mick McCarthy's strong ties, it is clear that Lawrence wants to continue the trend:
'It's a fresh start for the Ireland national team after appointing Steve Staunton and although i've had no contact with them yet, I've applied for an Irish passport.'
Meanwhile Alan Stubbs has been linked with a move away from the club, with Derby boss and ex Bolton team-mate Phil Brown keeping tabs on the former Everton stopper.
The Derby manager told the Derby Evening Telegraph: 'Of course I am interested in Alan, but I'm interested in players with Premier League pedigree and standards who are not in their first team. Alan falls into that category.'
With Stubbs unable to hold down a regular place at Sunderland the defender may well feel that the offer from Pride Park is one worth listening to, though McCarthy is unlikely to want to sanction a move for one of his more experienced players.
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