LIONS hotshot Aiden O’Brien is hoping his form in a Millwall shirt will be rewarded with international recognition.
O’Brien, 22, was born in Islington and speaks with a strong London accent, but he has never been in doubt about which country he would like to represent on the international stage.
His mum’s family moved to the capital from Ireland and he watched enviously as David Forde joined up with Martin ONeill’s squad this week for their crunch Euro 2016 play-off games against Bosnia.
“That would be a dream,” he said of a potential call-up. “That step shouldn’t really come this early in my career. I don’t really expect it but the way I’m playing on Saturdays and Tuesdays I don’t see why I shouldn’t get a shot at it.
“Fordey’s always talking to me about it and hopefully one day I’ll be in the mixer for it.”
O’Brien’s Sky Bet League One player of the month award for October was validation of his progress and, while he was pleased with the recognition, that type of individual honour isn’t what motivates him.
He explained: “Being nominated is one thing but winning it is another. That’s the first I’ve ever won, it was a good achievement in my short career so far.
“I wasn’t really thinking ‘I want to get an award’, it was a bonus this season. The main thing on my mind is goals. Even though I’ve been playing on the wing a lot instead of up front, to get double figures from the wing before Christmas takes a lot of work.
“I’ve scored a few with my head, both feet, so I’ve got the balance. I’m confident in all areas in front of goal. My aim was to get double figures by Christmas. I’ve said that from the start of the season.”
O’Brien is well on track to achieve that target with time to spare after hitting his ninth of the season against Plymouth on Tuesday night.
And he puts his success in front of goal this season partly down to a laidback attitude on and off the pitch.
“When I go on the pitch I’m relaxed, I’m not really buzzed,” O’Brien said. “When I come off the pitch I’m the same as when I go on the pitch. I’m just composed and play my own game. I’m not one who comes off and then can’t unwind.
“If I play well I relax, if I play badly I relax. I’m just a relaxed person all round, really.
“If I miss a chance I play it back and I replay it with me scoring. The exact same chance, but with me putting the ball into the back of the net. So then the next time hopefully that’ll happen. I’ve done that all my career.”