Callum O'Dowda Interview
The Bristol City attacker has experienced a stop-start international career since making his senior debut in May 2016, but he is keen to 'kick on' and make a bigger impact in the green jersey.
O'Dowda enjoyed the recent training camp in Portugal because it allowed him to build up fitness following injury and to slot back into the squad amongst his international team-mates.
"It was tough, but good. Obviously I had an injury towards the back end of the season and managed to get fit. But now it's about getting the work in our legs," O'Dowda told FAI TV.
"Match fitness is a totally different thing and obviously you get that from playing games. We put in a lot of hours doing worthwhile sessions in Portugal but now it's about getting game-time and doing enough to prove to the manager that you deserve to play.
"It's been very important. Going out to Portugal was a change of scenery, but it was more about getting in with the boys as early as we can. Everyone is feeling good, everyone is doing well, and everyone is looking sharp at the moment," he said.
Aside from fitness, the most important aspect of the training camp for O'Dowda was having the opportunity to impress McCarthy. The former Under-21 star missed the EURO 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia in March, so he was keen to catch the eye in training.
"I don't know him as well as I would want to but even when I was injured on the last trip I still came over to introduce myself to him and spend a couple of days with the staff. It's also important for the manager and the staff to get to know us as well, which is why the training camp worked so well," he explained.
While he was frustrated watching Ireland claim two victories in their opening games due to being injured, O'Dowda was enthused by the attacking style that McCarthy was attempting to implement.
For someone who comes alive in the final third of the pitch - in an attacking sense - the approach was something that excited the versatile attacker and he wants to break into the starting XI to show just what he can contribute.
"That is way I want to play. I want to be getting into the areas to score goals. I think I've shown that at times this season with my club and I want to put that into practice with Ireland," he said.
"I know that I've just turned 24 but I think that I still have a lot of potential to kick on. There is still a lot more to come from myself.
"Whether that is left wing, right wing or through the middle, I think that I can use my pace to get in behind and be more affective there. I'm at my best when running with the ball and trying to get past people.
"This season I've noticed how quick I actually am and that is what I need to use on the pitch. I know that there is still a lot more to come."