Arter to savour Premier League life
Harry Arter enjoyed an early taste of what life in the Barclays Premier League will be like as he was handed his senior debut for the Republic of Ireland.
The 25-year-old Bournemouth midfielder, who was playing non-league football for Woking five years ago, completed a remarkable journey when he was sent on as a 63rd-minute replacement for Glenn Whelan in Sunday's 0-0 friendly draw with England at the Aviva Stadium.
In the process, he found himself lining up against the likes of Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, something he will do on a regular basis next season after helping the Cherries to promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.
Arter admitted he has rarely faced the prospect of such an exciting summer and is relishing what lies ahead.
He said: "When the season ended, it was getting ready for this, really. I knew I might have a slight chance of being called up and when I did, it was to get focused on this.
"I haven't really thought too much about next season and the teams we will be playing against, but once this trip is done, it will be something to focus on with a lot of excitement and get ready for that.
"International-level games are different, but these are the players I'm going to be playing against next year, so it was nice to test myself against them and experience it.
"It was nice to test myself early on against these sort of players. From afar, you realise how good they are and it's good to come up against them and test yourself and realise what you are in for next year."
Arter might have announced his arrival in style within minutes when he broke into space and unleashed a long-range shot which flew just wide of Joe Hart's goal.
He said: "I could have flicked Longy (Shane Long) in, but at the time, I felt like I had to have a shot and the manager said, 'Well done' for getting into those sort of positions after the game.
"It was good to finally get a game and it was a moment I'm sure I will look back on in weeks and months and years to come with a lot of pride. It was a good day."
Arter will now hope to force his way into Ireland boss Martin O'Neill's plans for Saturday's vital Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland, although he is taking nothing for granted as he attempts to ease himself on to the international stage.
He said: "I haven't even really thought about it yet. My main focus is to take each day as it comes. I am still very inexperienced at this level and any part that the manager wants me to play, I'm more than happy to do.
"But I haven't really looked that far forward yet."