Star's international aspirations - exclusive

Last updated : 05 October 2006 By Andy Parsons

The Owls winger and last season's top scorer has been in and out of the national side now for two years and does admit to a tad of frustration being left out for the two games this week, but he will still support the team while he stays in Sheffield.

Brunt is on standby which means he still has to be sharp just in case manager Lawrie Sanchez calls him up if one of his senior players is injured - so at the moment, Chris is preparing for The Owls' clash with Barnsley next Saturday.

"When you are on standby you don't have to go with the squad, you just get the call when someone is injured," Brunt told Footymad. "Our lads did ok last time against Spain so fingers crossed we can get another good result this weekend and if I am needed for that then great but if I am not then I will stay here and get some rest in a bid to look towards Wednesday's next game."

Like any player though at his age, he can get down when he is not named in a squad despite a number of impressive Northern Ireland performances but he knows that his time will come in the future.

He added: "I don't know how to react sometimes when I am not in the squad; I was a little bit disappointed last time out and it seems as if the manager has had a complete u-turn about my position in the squad but at the end of the day, that's his decision but first and foremost, I'm a Northern Ireland fan and I want to see the boys do well and obviously I would love to be a more regular part of it. Although at the end of the day, I'm only 21 and I have a long future ahead of me."

Northern Ireland's recent victory against a star-studded Spanish side raised eyebrows all over Europe, as did their triumph over England last year so what is their secret?

He admitted: "Being a small country, we have to up our game against a lot of teams, we have to sometimes pump it long but it's just to show we can get the results if we play to a direct style. Sometimes though against the quality sides, we are just chasing the ball around, like we did against Spain.

"But the England result shows that we can play against the quality teams and the Spain result shows that. I have never played against teams like that but it is a great experience when you do."

Meanwhile, Wednesday are continuing to monitor the progress of French trailist Sofiene Zaaboub who stared in the reserve's 3-0 win over Port Vale yesterday.

Drew Talbot (2) and Kenny Lunt netted for Wednesday but Paul Sturrock wants to see more from 23-year-old Zaaboub who is a left-sided defender.