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Arter sought Parker's advice

Harry Arter had only to turn to his brother-in-law for advice as he prepared to embark upon his senior international career with the Republic of Ireland.

The Bournemouth midfielder arrived at the Republic's Portmarnock base on Monday to meet up with Martin O'Neill's squad for the first time ahead of Sunday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland, but he did so having quizzed Fulham's former England international Scott Parker about life on the big stage.

Parker is married to Arter's sister, Carly, and sent the 25-year-old on his way telling him just to do what he has been doing for the Cherries this season to help leave them within striking distance of the Barclays Premier League.

Asked what the former Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham midfielder's advice had been, Arter said: "Just 'be yourself', really, I think that's all you can do.

"You have been picked for a reason and I have been picked because the manager was impressed with the way I play, so if I come here any different and not confident, then I would not show the best of my ability.

"He just said, 'be yourself, that's what you are picked for'.

"I'm pleased with my form. I am part of a team that's top of the league and things are going well. My main goal when I play is to be a positive influence on the team and try to be part of a successful team, and at the moment, we are so all in all, good."

Arter, who qualifies for the Republic through his grandmother, has fought his way back in his career after having to prove himself all over again in non-league football with Woking after being released by Charlton.

However, he never lost belief in his own ability and has worked his way back to where he believes he belongs, ready to make his mark in international football and hopefully, in the Premier League.

He said: "I was playing non-league and international football is far from that. I was obviously only a young boy then. My main focus then was just to work as hard as I could to get back to a level I thought I could play at.

"I am confident in my own ability and the level I feel I am capable of playing at. The key to that is just working hard and not resting on your laurels.

"From the age of 19 up until now, I haven't done that."

O'Neill has been to see the player, who has represented Ireland at Under-17 and Under- 19 level, on several occasions this season, but did not inform him of his impending elevation.

Arter said: "I didn't realise. It was a Thursday and I was just in the gym, and one of the lads just popped in and said 'congratulations, you got called up'. Obviously, I wasn't aware of anything, so it was a nice surprise.

"It was a different way of finding out, but one that was exciting. I spoke to Martin maybe a few days after that and he told me his thoughts, and I just couldn't wait to get over here."

Arter was one of several new faces at the training ground on Tuesday with skipper Robbie Keane and Stoke striker Jonathan Walters also now in harness, although there was an addition to a casualty list which includes Burnley defender Stephen Ward when winger James McClean limped off.

He was immediately sent for a scan on his left ankle, leaving O'Neill fretting over one of his regular starters.

The manager said: "James has got a sore ankle. He's gone for a scan - precautionary, I hope - but he was just feeling it a little bit. We'll see how he is.

"It didn't happen in training. He felt a little bit sore after yesterday. He thought it might go away, but it's just a bit of a pain across the ankle.

"James has played exceptionally well for us in most of the games since I have been in charge. Obviously I know him quite well - very well, in fact - and yes, he's a good player for us."


From Belfast Telegraph