By Jamie Holt
DAVID McGoldrick has turned down Gordon Strachan’s offer to play for Scotland because he prefers to take his chances with Ireland.
The Ipswich striker says he would jump at the chance if Ireland were interested after finding out that he’s eligible to play for the Republic.
McGoldrick’s international status had been unclear until recently because he was adopted as a baby. Born and raised in Nottingham by adoptive mother Janet, McGoldrick was wanted by Ireland as a youngster but had no clear link to the country.
The 26-year-old, though, decided to do some digging into his family tree after Scotland boss Strachan made enquiries about him at the end of last season.
It turned out his birth mother’s father has connections to Ireland, and McGoldrick wasted no time in speaking with the FAI.
The in-form striker, who took his season’s tally to 16 with a late equaliser against Barnsley last weekend, is currently in the process of acquiring an Irish passport – clearing the way for a call-up.Ireland’s next game is a friendly at home to Serbia on March 5.
And the former Nottingham Forest forward says an international cap from Ireland manager Martin O’Neill – and a play-off place with the Tractor Boys – would seal a season to remember.
“I feel in the best form of my career. I’ve just got to keep this going now,” said McGoldrick.
“If I do get a call-up it will top off what has been a great season so far, a place in the play-offs and a call-up would be ideal.
“I’ve not spoken directly with Martin O’Neill or anyone from the Ireland set-up about a call up. The Serbia game isn’t on my mind at the moment, and I’ve just got to keep my form going with Ipswich.
“I’m in the process of sorting a passport out and I’ll need that first before anything else.
“I’ve been speaking to people at the FAI and we’ve been looking into it, but it’s quite complicated because I was adopted as a kid.
“When I was younger Ireland tried to call me up but I knew nothing about my birth parents. It turned out my birth mum’s dad has Irish links, so it was a bit of a relief because I’d love to play for Ireland. My heart has been set on it.
“Other countries have tried to contact me. Scotland did at the end of last season, but when I found out I could play for Ireland that was it. It’s nice to have a manager like Gordon Strachan asking you, but my mind is made up, although nothing is guaranteed with Ireland, I need to get things sorted and hope I get a call-up.”
If he needed someone to talk to for some advice on representing the Republic of Ireland, Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy was there for him.
As a tough centre-back, McCarthy won 57 caps, then took charge as manager for six years – including the infamous 2002 World Cup. McGoldrick has sounded out McCarthy as well as some of his Irish team-mates.
“I spoke with him a few months ago and he told me to pursue it,” added McGoldrick. “He said I’d love it. He really gave me encouragement and that was great.
“He has some great memories of his time with Ireland as boss, and he said it’s a great set-up to be involved in.
“And Stephen Hunt doesn’t stop talking about Ireland – how many caps he’s got, how many goals he’s scored, how many shots he’s had, how many passes he’s made – he doesn’t shut up!
“There is a bit of banter, but it’s nice to hear him talking me up for a call-up, and there’s a bit of an Irish connection at the club which helps, with Daryl Murphy and the new signing Paul Green as well.”
Between now and a potential international cap, though, he must concentrate on Ipswich’s quest for a play-off place.
McGoldrick’s performances of late have led to McCarthy praising his striker as the team’s talisman – and he’s loving the atention.
“The gaffer has been great. I’m playing every week at the minute and that gives you so much confidence,” he continued.
“The gaffer trusts me, and that’s a big part of my game and it helps me take my chances when they come along.
“It’s always good to hear positive things from the boss, and him calling me a talisman for the team shows he has got faith in me.
“With my time at Coventry as well, I’ve been playing regularly for about 20 months now, and it’s given me my confidence back after I lost it a bit at Forest.”