Harry Arter explains how connections with Harry Redknapp led to meeting Martin O'Neill
Harry Arter played his first competitive game for Ireland last night12:25 Sunday 13 November 2016, 12:25 13 Nov 2016
Harry Arter made his first senior competitive bow for Ireland last night which brings a long run of speculation about his international future to an end.
An extensive stretch of injuries has delayed his first competitive start for Ireland after he was omitted from the squad that travelled to France for the Euros. Rumours about a surprise switch to the English football team have been circulating recently but Arter's appearance in the green shirt against Austria last night, has officially confirmed where his allegiances lie.
"I have been friends with Harry Redknapp and his family for many years and I saw Harry walking across the car park at Fulham with Martin O’Neill back in 2014 and I had to go an introduce myself. It was a chance meeting, but it turned out to be very useful because it gave me a chance to tell the manager about my ambitions to get into the Ireland squad."
"The manager was fully aware that I qualified through my grandparents and that I had played for Ireland at junior levels, but I think the meeting helped. He came to watch me at Bournemouth a few weeks later and when he announced the next Ireland squad, I got my first call-up. It all happened very quickly after that first meeting. It is funny how these things work sometimes. I’m not sure if that car park encounter helped, but hopefully he could see how desperate I was to play for Ireland."
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