Egan proud to captain Ireland

Sheffield United

Sheffield United defender John Egan says captaining the Republic of Ireland against Bulgaria on Tuesday night was the highlight of his career.

The 26-year-old was handed the armband for the Dublin friendly and played the full 90 minutes as the hosts picked up a 3-1 victory thank to goals from Alan Browne, Kevin Long and James Collins.

Regular captain Seamus Coleman did not play and it was a virtual second-string Irish side that got the job done at the Aviva Stadium.

Egan, who arrived at Bramall Lane from Brentford ahead of last season and helped the Blades gain promotion to the Premier League, admitted his delight when manager Mick McCarthy gave him the nod to lead out his countrymen.

“It’s fantastic to captain Ireland and get a win, it’s a dream come true and a proud moment for me and my family,” he said.

“I found out on the morning of the game. The gaffer pulled me and told me. There was a little bit of shock, but I was delighted.”

Egan has been an ever-present for Chris Wilder in the heart of the United defence this season, with the South Yorkshire outfit having enjoyed a solid start to life back among England’s elite.

One win and two draws – including an encouraging 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – sees the Blades in 10th spot in the early-season standings.

Egan returns to club matters on Saturday when Wilder’s charges entertain Southampton, looking to build on the point taken from west London.

It remains to be seen if the Cork-man and his fellow United stars can keep the club in the top flight this term but, for now, he is happy to bask in the pride of wearing green.

“This is the proudest moment of my career,” he added. “It’s an honour not many get and I’m lucky to have got it tonight.”