David McGoldrick has been named as the 2019 ‘Three’ FAI Senior Men’s International Player of the Year.
In a year that saw the striker return to the Republic of Ireland Senior Men’s squad, he scored his first goal (against Switzerland) and made a valuable contribution to the team.
In a year where Ireland scored just seven competitive goals, McGoldrick was one of Ireland strongest performers and was selected him ahead of fellow first-time nominees Enda Stevens and Glenn Whelan.
“I’m surprised. I think there are a lot of players who could have got it from their performances throughout the campaign. There is a wealth of experience and young, talented players as well so it’s a real honour and privilege to win this award ahead of them,” McGoldrick told FAI TV.
“In previous years I was in and out of the squads and didn’t really get the consistent game-time, which is fair enough. But to get game-time and to show what I can do and to win this award on the back end of it ahead of Enda Stevens and Glenn Whelan, I’m proud of myself for that.
“It’s been a crazy year. It’s gone really fast. Obviously I got my international goal at the start of the season, which gave me massive confidence. My performances have been good and to score my two Premier League goals that’s what I wanted, that’s what every player wants. Altogether it’s been a crazy and a weird season at the same time with what is happening in the world.”
McGoldrick is now taking a well-deserved break before preparations begin for the 2020/21 English Premier League season, but international football is still on his mind.
The 32-year-old has already spoken with new Ireland manager Stephen Kenny and he is hoping to be named in the squad for the UEFA Nations League games against Bulgaria and Finland next month.
“Everyone will be itching to see what the squad is and if you get selected. I know it’s going to be a busy schedule when we meet up but everyone will be itching to impress – first impressions are a big one,” he said.
“It will be no different if you are one of the older ones, like me, or a younger boy who is getting his first call-up you are going to be itching for it. And that’s good because it balances out the whole team and everyone is fighting for the shirt and that’s what we want.”
Even though his international career is only starting to take off, McGoldrick has plenty still to fight for with a spot at next summer’s UEFA European Championships top of the list.
“That’s what we’re all aiming for, to play in the European Championships,” said the striker.
“All of the hard work we’ve done for the past couple of years to get into this position, we now have one tough game first and we’ve got to get through that. I have every confidence in the boys. When we play to our best we’re a match for anyone.”
The winner of the Young International Player of the Year award is midfielder Alan Browne, who was selected ahead of Josh Cullen and Callum Robinson.
This category takes into consideration players aged 25 years or younger who have represented the Senior Men’s team in the respective year of the awards taking place.
Browne is no stranger to collecting International awards having picked up the Schools International Player of the Year in 2013 when studying at Nagle Community College and then lifting the Under-21 Player of the Year in 2015.
Winners of the other categories will be announced later this week.