Millwall forward Aiden O’Brien has claimed he believes his international display in midweek will benefit his confidence when The Lions take on Leeds United tomorrow.
O’Brien called the double achievement to start and score on his Republic of Ireland debut a ‘dream’, and something his family can treasure.
“It was a proud moment for myself and my family, we’ve been waiting all our lives, working towards this moment – me and my dad, specifically. It’s something to cherish for the rest of our lives.
“The manager named the team about two hours before the game at the hotel, just before we were about to leave, and he named me up top as a loan striker, so I was just buzzing.
“I was getting myself ready on the coach, getting my nerves down and listening to music to prepare – it was a dream just to be starting the game let alone scoring, but I did the double!”
The 24-year-old said he values the welcome he has received from his international teammates and staff, and looks to build on his early Irish success under Martin O’Neill.
“Obviously you do get nervous when it’s your first professional start for your country, but it was more excitement to get out there and show what I can do to the nation, and I was just buzzing to be picked. To then score our goal was the icing on the cake.
“The boys [in the national team] have welcomed me from the start.
“The players and the staff have been brilliant. I’ve been in a few camps but this was my first start, and I hope now to build on that. We’ll see what happens in the forthcoming camps.”
O’Brien acknowledged the importance of remaining grounded ahead of a busy fixture schedule for Neil Harris’ Lions, but cannot deny the boost he has taken ahead of a highly-charged Sky Bet Championship clash against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds.
“Of course, scoring against Poland on my full debut for my country is going to give me a huge confidence boost, but I’ve got to keep myself level-headed as I always do.
“We go again now against Leeds, and I hope I can go and at least get another one against them as I did last year. Hopefully I can chip in and we can get the three points.
The forward finally claimed that whilst defeat in our last outing against Swansea City was a bitter pill to swallow, he and his teammates are sharp and focused ahead of the task at hand.
“We need to get the win; the Swansea game was difficult to get out of my mind. It was tough when they had 10 men to go one up and then lose in the last few minutes, but we’ve had the break now, and the boys look sharp in training.
“Three points on the board, and we can get our season rolling.”