Harry Arter has revealed that Harry Redknapp helped him to break into the Irish squad.
The 26 year old midfielder finally made his competitive debut for Ireland in yesterday’s stunning 1-0 win in Austria.
Arter is friends with Redknapp and his family, and the English boss introduced the Bournemouth midfielder to Martin O’Neill in a car park in 2014.
“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,” he told Yahoo Sport.
“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.”
Arter enjoyed a promising debut, and will be eager to cement a place in Martin O’Neill’s starting eleven.