Seamus Coleman is having to pinch himself after being called up to the senior Republic of Ireland squad.
The 21-year-old was drafted in by manager Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Russia and Slovakia following the withdrawals of Stephen Kelly and Darren O'Dea, and met up with the rest of the squad in Malahide on Monday.
"I remember watching the Irish team in the World Cup when Robbie Keane and Damien Duff were setting the World Cup alight in 2002, and to be eating dinner with them, it is a bit surreal," said Coleman.
"But you have got to get used to it.
"When I was growing up, I always wanted to play at the highest level. You always aim for it, but you don't know what is going to happen.
"It was something to aim for and thank God that I have actually got into the squad."
Coleman, who signed a new four-year contract at Everton at the end of last season, will go through his paces with the rest of the squad in Malahide this week and will hope his efforts can propel him into Trapattoni's thoughts ahead of Friday night's clash with Russia at the Aviva Stadium.
Whatever happens, it will be a new experience for the Donegal youngster, who revealed has never even seen his country play an international at the former Lansdowne Road.
Coleman said: "I remember I went to a testimonial, when they played Celtic, with my father, but that's the only one I have been at.
"This will be the first one, so it's a good one to come to."
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