Last Updated: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 18:21
Andy Reid felt he had proved a point after leaving the pitch to a standing ovation following his return to international action.
The 31-year-old Nottingham Forest midfielder won his 28th senior Republic of Ireland cap in Tuesday night's 3-1 win over Kazakhstan almost six years after his 27th.
Reid, who last played for Ireland in a 2-2 European Championship qualifier draw in Wales in November 2007, famously found himself on the wrong side of former manager Giovanni Trapattoni and admitted that at times he feared his chance had gone before interim boss Noel King ended his exile.
Asked about his wait, he said: "It was very long, and sometimes there have been times when I thought that maybe I wouldn't get the opportunity again, so I a very grateful to Noel for giving me the opportunity.
"Having said that, I feel that my performances for my club warranted a game last night and I feel I justified my selection.
"I have always enjoyed my football. There has never been a time in my career when I haven't gone out on the pitch and tried to enjoy myself.
"It's obviously not good when you lose games and I don't like losing, but going out on the pitch last night was a proud moment and I enjoyed every minute of it."
Reid's efforts were warmly appreciated by a sparse crowd at the Aviva Stadium as he was replaced by Aiden McGeady with the Republic leading their final World Cup qualifier 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining.
However, that perhaps should not have come as a surprise after he revealed he had been inundated with messages from supporters throughout his spell in the wilderness.
He said: "Throughout the whole time I have been out of the squad, the Irish people have always been very supportive of me.
"I have received tons and tons and tons of letters saying that people believed I should be back in the squad and should be part of it, and I think they showed when I came off the pitch that they have always appreciated I have given 100 per cent every time I have played for my country."
Reid played a significant role as Ireland came from behind to beat the Kazakhs, who took a 13th-minute lead through Dmitriy Shomko's long-range piledriver.
It was his free-kick which was handled by defender Alexander Kislitsyn that led to skipper Robbie Keane claiming his 61st senior international goal from the penalty spot, and his corner which was headed goalwards by Richard Dunne 10 minutes later for John O'Shea to prod home after keeper Andrey Sidelnikov's error.
Reid said: "That's what I was in the team for, to create and I feel I did that at times. Maybe we would have liked to have got a couple more goals, but these teams don't just roll over for you, they make it difficult for you.
"After a wonder-strike of a first goal from them, we reacted particularly well, went about our job in a very professional manner and got a good result."
Reid will hope to retain his place in the squad for next month's proposed friendly double-header, by which point a new manager could be in place, and beyond that, the qualifying campaign for Euro 2016, which starts in September next year.
Asked if he expected to be able to play a meaningful part if the Republic made the finals, he said: "Yes, definitely. I am playing as well as I have probably ever played, I am as fit as I have ever been, so I don't see why not."
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