DANNY McNAMARA received an early Christmas present when he read that his Irish boss, Stephen Kenny, was checking his name as someone close to a high-profile call.
When asked in his final press conference who he will be keeping a close eye on in 2022, Kenny first thought of the Millwall right-back.
McNamara learned of the news when it was published the weekend before Christmas.
Lions’ Ace told SunSport: “I actually sent it, from a few people. The first person to send it was Shaun Williams.
“And when I saw it, I went crazy. I was on the moon. I was a bit shocked, but he said it was a positive thing for me.
“But to be called up, I need to play week in, week out in the Championship in the best way possible.”
The fact that his first message was from Williams – a former teammate at Millwall and now player-manager at Portsmouth – was a reminder of how difficult it is to make progress.
Williams, 35 years old, 31 years old before he had the chance to go to Ireland.
McNamara, 23, said: “Yes, Shaun and Aiden O’Brien who were here in Millwall had to wait for their chance.
“But both are in the spotlight because they are playing well at a high level. I need to do the same.”
It’s even harder when you’re playing in the same position as Seamus Coleman and Matt Doherty.
McNamara added: “Two class players there, two really good players.
“It’s been tough but I can just do what I’m doing and build and get noticed.”
Born in London, McNamara was not on the FAI’s radar as he rose through the ranks of Millwall.
He revealed: “When he was 18 or 19 years old, Mark O’Toole was watching one of my matches, he was an Irish scout, and he asked, ‘Does Danny have an Irish passport? ‘ It just started from there. ”
His roots are in Edgeworthstown in Longford. Mr and Mrs John and Eileen moved to London, where his father Tony was born and the Millwall man had always dreamed of wearing green. “When we were kids, we would go to Ireland, see my family,” he explains.
“I have always known I have Irish roots but I never thought I would represent Ireland at such a high level, the Under-21 team. Obviously I want to play for the whole team.”
Kenny was the Under-21 coach when he made his debut in Armenia, with his second start in 2020 under Jim Crawford against Luxembourg, then he was too old.
But after that, he did very well on his way to the Millwall first team by getting as much experience as he could on loan at Dover, Welling United, Havant and Waterlooville and Newport County.
At the start of the 2020-21 season he joined St Johnstone, but he was recalled to play in an FA Cup match and has not looked back.
McNamara added: “They called me in December and said, ‘We’ve been watching you, you’re doing great, we think you can come back and push the other right-back and just try. and fight for the shirt’.
“I was buzzing. I played against Boreham Wood in the FA Cup, had a really good game and within a few days I was making my league debut against Bournemouth. I think I played 12 or 13 bounces after that. ”
This season, he has featured since returning from an injury at the end of September.
Kenny followed, with the player repeating: “My next goal is to try to get called up to the senior squad.”
https://www.thesun.ie/sport/football/8192534/danny-mcnamara-stephen-kenny-ireland-millwall/ Millwall ace Danny McNamara ‘through the moon’ after being name-checked by Ireland boss Stephen Kenny as a person to see