EX-SUNDERLAND star Anthony Stokes hopes to earn a return to Republic of Ireland favour after manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s departure.
The Celtic striker was frozen out by the Italian after withdrawing from the squad for the Nations Cup in May 2011, reportedly due to tiredness.
Trapattoni’s five-year tenure came to an end by mutual consent after Tuesday’s 1-0 World Cup qualifying defeat in Austria, which followed a home defeat by Sweden.
Asked if that could open the door for him to come back and add to his four caps, Stokes, 25, said: “I hope so. I have said since I have been left out the squads that I would love to be back in.
“It’s not down to me. I would love to be involved in the set-up but I am just concentrating on my club football and hopefully when a new manager comes in and I am still performing well, maybe I will get my opportunity.”
Stokes, who on Thursday revealed he is “getting a little bit closer” to signing a new deal with Celtic, believes Trapattoni had to go.
He said: “I think it was inevitable after the last couple of results.
“The results in the last couple of games have been obviously disappointing for the lads.
“Hopefully, whoever comes in can turn that around, it might be a good thing.”
While optimistic that a new deal is in the offing, Stokes wants a resolution quickly.
The Irishman, who joined the Parkhead club in 2010, said: “I am in the last year so the sooner it’s done the better.”
Asked if he was becoming frustrated, the former Sunderland and Hibernian forward replied: “It is one these things, it is not for me to say, I don’t know how the club deal with other contracts, I don’t ask questions.
“I am in my last year and I would like to get it sorted as soon as possible but it is not really down to me.
“There is not much more I can do.”
Stokes revealed the “mixed emotions” he experienced last season while his team-mates reached the last-16 of the Champions League means he is looking forward to this season’s European campaign more than most.
A long-term ankle injury led to him missing the entire Champions League journey which saw Neil Lennon’s side overcome Barcelona and Spartak Moscow in the group stages before losing to Italian giants Juventus in the first knock-out round.
Stokes helped Celtic through three qualifying rounds at the start of this season with the Scottish champions rewarded for their efforts by being drawn alongside Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax with a trip to San Siro next week first on the agenda.
“I am looking forward to it, massively,” he said.
“There were mixed emotions last year. There was a great atmosphere at all the games and it was great to watch the lads do so well.
“But there was that little bit inside where I wanted to be involved.
“I hate watching any football to be honest, especially when it is my own team because I want to be playing.
“It was difficult but it spurred me on a little bit to work harder and try to come back stronger.
“We just have to go out and concentrate on our own game. We know it’s going to be difficult against some of the best sides in the world so there will be no easy tasks.
“We just need to try and do what we did last year - stay compact and see what we can do.”