Ireland come calling for young midfielder

Dons ace selected for U21 qualification games

Midfield dynamo Stephen Gleeson thinks that getting international recognition is a bit of a double-edged sword for him– as it means he misses Dons matches!

The 21-year-old, who has again been selected for the Republic of Ireland U21 squad said he loves representing his country but also hates missing crucial League One matches.

He will miss this Saturday's clash at home to Walsall due to his involvement in Ireland's European Championship qualification games.

Gleeson – along with Ipswich Town's Owen Garvan – is the most capped member of Don Givens' side that will host Georgia tomorrow, Friday, night and then Switzerland four days later.

And the Dons man admitted he will miss not being with his usual team-mates on Saturday afternoon.

"It is great to play for your country, but I am also disappointed to miss the Walsall game.

"The first game is the day before the Walsall game so I am going to miss it and obviously I don't want to miss any games for Dons. But it is an international match and I've been called up, so I have to go."

But Gleeson hopes playing for his national team will also prove beneficial for Paul Ince's side.

"I think international football is a part of every player's development and it's great to play against different countries and styles of football.

"The manager is probably disappointed I am missing the game and of course I'm definitely disappointed, but these things just happen in football and you just have to get on with it."

The former Wolves midfielder isn't the only Dons youngster earning himself international recognition though. Striker Sam Baldock was involved in two of England's FIFA World U20 World Cup group games. And Gleeson said the whole squad were proud of the little forward.

"It is brilliant for Sam. For any player to get in an England squad at any level is really good considering the talent that you have in the country. To get into a World Cup squad is magnificent and Sam has done really well."

Getting back to matters on a domestic front, Gleeson added he doesn't mind who he plays with in central midfield.

This season he has been paired with Luke Howell, Jason Puncheon and Peter Leven so far. But he says they all have such a good relationship that it really doesn't matter who plays with who.

"I think we all get along well and we have a good relationship. Plus we are all good footballers so whoever comes in we just get on with it.

"I thought when me and Leven played together we have done OK, but me and Puncheon and me and Howell have done OK too. So whoever I play alongside we get on well and so play well together."

But Gleeson does admit he isn't a huge fan of playing out wide.

He played on the right side of midfield in Dons' 2-0 reverse at Oldham at the end of September, and admitted playing there is not his preferred position.

"I am a central midfielder by trade, but if the gaffer asks me to do a job I will. I will play anywhere the manager wants me to," he said,

"But out wide is obviously not my preferred position but I tried to do a good job for the side at Oldham and would try it again in the future if needs be."