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16/04/2014

Ford Swappage!

New kid on the block!

Richard Dunne has no plans to retire as an international player but, even though he is prepared to make himself available for selection for Ireland’s Euro 2016 campaign, he says he has to accept the possibility that he might already have played his last game for his country.

The veteran defender also revealed yesterday that, with QPR aiming to be involved in the Championship play-offs, he has decided to skip Ireland’s summer friendly schedule.

“Personally, I think I know what’s important for me and at the end of a nearly 50-game season, I think rest is as important as anything,” said Dunne, a fetching black eye reinforcing how physical a league the Championship is. “But when September comes around I will be available. The manager knows what I can do, I worked with him for a year [at Aston Villa], so I’ll be there if he needs me.”

Dunne confessed that it has already crossed his mind that he might not pull on the green shirt again.

“I probably did think about retirement but I don’t see the need to retire,” he said. “Obviously the team will move on and there’s plenty of new players coming through at centre-half, a position where more players have become available over the last while. I’ve missed out on a lot of football with Ireland over the last two years, really since the Euros. It’s the way it is but, likewise, I don’t see the need for me to come out and say, ‘I’m retired, thanks very much’.”

While the 34-year-old admits the notion of finishing his Irish career at the Euro finals in 2016 would be “brilliant”, he quickly points out that it’s an entirely abstract proposition since, even leaving aside the possibility of further injuries, he doesn’t have a club contract that extends that far.

What he does have, however, is an extended one-year deal with QPR, a reward for playing consistently this season and proof that, despite medical opinion having once suggested he might never play again, he has recovered from the complicated groin injury which kept him on the sidelines for over a year after Euro 2012.

“When I signed the contract, it was in there that if I played 30 games it would be extended so that was an aim from the start, although with the history of the injury I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to make it,” the Dubliner said.

“So it’s been pleasing to be able to play 39 games out of 44 so far in the season.

“I feel fine, a bit of stiffness and that after the games but nothing to do with the injury, just the amount of games.” QPR have been on a bit of a slide of late but if they do make it to the Premier League via the play-offs, Dunne hopes to be up there with them.

“At the moment, I feel capable of doing at least another year,” he said. “The time will come when I don’t get a contract but the fact I missed out on a year [means] I want to keep going for as long as I can”.

- Dunne was speaking in Dublin at the launch of Ford’s exclusive ‘Swappage’ offer which runs until June 30. Details at fordswappage.ie and from local Ford dealers countrywide.



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