Liam Kinsella is pleased his hard work is reaping benefits ahead of what he hopes will be a breakthrough 2017/18 season in Walsall’s first team as the youngster returns from international duty.
The 21-year-old travelled to Dublin on Saturday for a three-day training camp with Republic of Ireland’s under-21s before returning to training in Essington with Saddlers Manager Jon Whitney and the club’s under-23s - plus a few senior players - on Wednesday.
Kinsella made 12 appearances for the first-team last season, building on the nine games he played in 2015/16 and five in the previous campaign.
The versatile Kinsella is looking to earn his first cap for his country’s U21 side having been an unused substitute in qualifying matches against Serbia in October and Kosovo in March.
“It was a training camp, we played an Irish team and won 3-1 - I played 90 minutes,” said Kinsella.
“We have a UEFA U21 Championship qualifying game in September against Azerbaijan and this was an opportunity for the manager to look at the players ahead of that.
“We travelled up on the Saturday morning and did a 20-minute each-way game with two teams, then on Sunday we just relaxed and prepared for the game on Monday.
“It was decent! I’ve only had a week off so far but I can’t complain!
“We were based at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin, Shamrock Rovers’ home ground.
“I’ve known all the lads in the U21s for a couple of squads now - we’re called up three or four times and it’s an honour to be called up.
“The first time was against Serbia at home in the qualifying campaign last year.
“It’s really good to be noticed by the national team for all the work I’m putting in at Walsall, and it shows that work does pay off.”
And having returned for a day’s training with the Saddlers on this week, Kinsella is already looking forward to next season.
“I always look forward to every new season,” Kinsella added.
“I’m going to work really hard this pre-season and I can hopefully try to get that spot.
“I’ve just got to focus on the summer at the moment."