ADAM Rooney may be in the form of his life right now, but the Irishman reckons the only way he will be at the Dublin Arena for next month’s vital Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland is if he gets a ticket for the match.
Even then the Aberdeen striker might not be able to go as the Pittodrie club’s players report back for pre-season training just two days later to prepare for their own European qualifying campaign.
It’s a great honour to play for your country. I would love to do itAdam Rooney
Not that Rooney’s complaining after scoring six goals in Europa League matches last July which has sparked an amazing return of 27 so far this season with three games to go.
That is the highest tally for any Dons player since Duncan Shearer’s 28 goals all of 21 years ago, while his personal objective now is to become the first since Joe Harper to hit the 30 mark.
It’s quite a transformation for someone English League One club Oldham Athletic were happy to release for free just 16 months ago, but Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill remains stubbornly unimpressed.
That’s despite the fact Rooney remains the Scottish Premiership’s top marksman with 17 league goals, four more than Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths prior to this season’s final meeting between the pair.
Unfortunately for Rooney, O’Neill’s assistant Roy Keane took in the last clash between the top two teams in the division when Aberdeen were on the wrong end of a 4-0 hammering at Parkhead.
It was quite simply a case of Murphy’s Law as far as Rooney is concerned as he said: “Obviously if we won 3-0 and I got a hat-trick then I might have got called in but that’s the way things go.”
That sort of sanguine response is conditioned by the realisation that O’Neill does seem to have an embarrassment of riches to pick from when it comes to in-form strikers at the moment.
Rooney did respresent the Republic of Ireland at various levels in the past and would relish the chance of a senior cap but asked about any sense of disappointment currently, he added: “Not really. It’s part and parcel of the game and if you look around there are a lot of Irish players scoring goals.
“Just look at the English Championship where Daryl Murphy has scored a lot for Ipswich (27) and Eoin Doyle’s got plenty for Cardiff (30) but he’s not even in the squad either.
“There are a lot of good strikers out there to pick from and it would be great to get a chance but if it doesn’t happen I’ll keeping doing my best here.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone about an international call-up and I don’t now if anyone watches the games. I just concentrate on doing my job for Aberdeen and if I can keep on scoring goals then you never know.
“I’m the same as everyone as it is a great honour to play for your country and I would love to do it at senior level.
“I played for the 17s through to the 21s and I was very proud to do that and hopefully the chance will come along.”
There’s little doubt Rooney is valued at Aberdeen, though, where he won Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Goal of the Season for his strike against St Johnstone in January at the club’s end-of-season bash on Thursday. His only disappointment is the failure to make today’s meeting with Celtic relevant in terms of winning the league title, with Ronny Deila’s team having been officially crowned champions just last weekend.
“Obviously it would have been nice to still be in with a shout of winning the league but that’s finished now. It’s still a big game though and one we want to win after some disappointing results against them so far.
“We want to win any game regardless of the opposition and we have shown consistency against other teams so if we can get a positive result against Celtic that will go a long way.
“We have to look at the positives and we have pushed on a lot from last season in terms of points and wins.
“There have been a lot of records set in terms of clean sheets, goals scored and points picked up to clinch second place so we have achieved quite a lot. Hopefully we can add to the squad in the summer and go again next season.”