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Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Stoke's Jermaine Pennant wants Republic of Ireland call

Stoke City winger Jermaine Pennant
Pennant played 24 times for the England Under-21 side

Stoke City winger Jermaine Pennant has confirmed that he would like to play for the Republic of Ireland after revealing he has an Irish grandfather.

The ex-England Under-21 man has been in contact with the Football Association of Ireland about a possible call-up.

"I'm 28, I'm not getting any younger and I'd like to play international football, whether it's with England or Ireland," he told BBC Radio Stoke.

"I'd love to play for England but it's just never happened."

The former Arsenal and Liverpool man continued: "I don't think it's going to happen, not because of my ability, but maybe misdemeanours in the past that have put that to a halt.

"They're looking at younger, up-and-coming talent which is great for England.

"Who's to say that Ireland can't get to the next World Cup? If I could be a part of that with Ireland, that would be great.

"If I've got a chance to play international football with Ireland, I'm going to take it with both hands.

"They've asked previously and I said 'I want to try and play for England', but I never closed the door on it.

"I actually looked into it and texted my agent. I think he's contacted them to say 'he's eligible to play and he's interested', so we'll see what happens.

"Now they know that I'm interested, maybe they'll start watching me in games.

"You can't just click your fingers and say 'pick me for the team'. You've got to be playing well for your club before you play for any country."

Pennant won 24 caps for the England Under-21 side but failed to make the step up to the senior side.

He has played 25 games for Stoke since his loan move from Real Zaragoza in August, which was made permanent during the January transfer window.

There were reports that Pennant had to pay parking charges of around £400 after leaving his Porsche at a railway station in Spain, but he said some of the details of the story were inaccurate and that the episode had been "blown out of proportion".

Pennant said: "I left it there for three weeks and my friend went to pick it up for me.

"The Spanish press wrote that I left it there for five months and they also said the club [Real Zaragoza] contacted me to tell me that the Porsche was at the station.

"When I replied saying ''no it's not, my friend has picked it up', they put in the papers that I'd replied 'oh, I didn't know I had a Porsche'.

"So the English press have run it off the Spanish press and now it's blown out of all proportion."



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