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Doherty goes Dutch

Posted on 1 September 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Gary Doherty insists he hasn't taken a step down by rejoining the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad for Friday's European Championship qualifying match against Holland.

Listen to Gary's thoughts on Ireland's match against Holland

Doherty was elevated to Mick McCarthy's senior squad for the USA Cup in the summer but has missed out on selection for the World Cup qualifier against Holland on Saturday. Instead he'll aim to add to his four Under-21 caps in the Degoffert Stadium in Nijmegen.

Training at Spurs Lodge earlier in the week, Doherty said: "I'm back in the Under-21s and I suppose some people might see that as a step down but I'm better off actually playing for them than just being involved and not playing for the seniors. I'm not too disappointed to miss out and I'll just go over to Holland and enjoy it.

"We're expecting a tough game out there. Everyone knows about the quality of the senior side and you would think the Under-21s would have that same quality. Holland are well-known for bringing through youngsters - just look at the Ajax regime. I'm sure it will be a very hard start for us."

If Doherty is sure Ireland are in for a tough start one thing he is not sure about is what position he'll play. The big, versatile, 20-year-old made a name for himself when he scored a hatful of goals for Luton Town after being moved from centre-back to centre-forward at Kenilworth Road. He then made his Spurs and full Ireland debuts as a striker but has gone back to playing defensively for the reserves in pre-season.

"I haven't a clue where I'll play!" he said. "Maybe up front, maybe defensively. I just don't know. I would have thought it will be centre-forward though. It's always difficult for a player to settle when you change positions but once I get settled I'm sure it will be okay."