CONOR Sammon is relishing the chance to test himself against world and European champions Spain in New York.
The 26-year-old Republic of Ireland frontman is hoping for a start at Yankee Stadium during the early hours of Wednesday morning, and that could present the intriguing prospect of a battle against Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos.
However, Derby striker Sammon – who moved to Pride Park from Kilmarnock – insists he would not be fazed by the task of trying to get the better of a household name.
He said: “I’m very keen to go over there and try to get a start. I’d love to test myself against a top, top team like Spain, who could field two or three XIs that would be world-class.
“I’m definitely vying for a starting place. I would love to get the nod up front. I’d fancy my chances against most fellas. I’m keen to get out there and battle with anyone. You watch players like that on the television and they are strong boys and good physical battles, so I would love to test myself against someone like that.”
Sammon has now made six appearances for his country, the last three of them as a substitute in the most recent fixtures against England, Georgia and the Faroe Islands, with manager Giovanni Trapattoni happy to add his brawn to the other weapons in his armoury.
It was he who provided the cross from which skipper Robbie Keane completed his hat-trick in Friday night’s 3-0 World Cup qualifier victory over the Faroes.
However, he is yet to open his own goalscoring account, and that is something he is determined to address as quickly as possible. He said: “Obviously, I’d love to score a goal myself, which is the next target, but to be involved and to help set up a goal like that was another brilliant experience for me, and one that I will look to carry on being a part of.”
Keane’s treble on the night he became Ireland’s most-capped player took his international tally to 59 goals, and his efforts are appreciated as much on the pitch as they are off it.
Sammon said: “It’s hard to know what else you can say about him. To get that amount of appearances, the way he has looked after himself over his career and the goals he has scored as well, it’s incredible. It’s a pleasure for myself to play alongside him and to train alongside him as well, and just try to learn and soak up being around people like that.”
The Irish face crunch Group C clashes with Sweden and Austria in September.