NEWCASTLE United’s Rob Elliot is ready for another big occasion – after finally making his international debut.
Elliot told of his “pride” after playing for the Republic of Ireland in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Turkey in Dublin.
The 28-year-old had missed his own Las Vegas stag do after getting a call-up from coach Martin O’Neill.
But he won’t be involved in Saturday’s game against Italy at Craven Cottage – as he is getting married.
The 28-year-old – who thanked fans for their “support” on Twitter after the game – will then rejoin his Republic of Ireland team-mates for two friendlies in the United States before embarking on a delayed honeymoon.
Elliot tweeted: “Great to make my international debut. Gutted about the result! Thanks for all the comments and support!! #proud.”
Greenwich-born Elliot – whose father’s family are from Cork – won praise from former Sunderland manager O’Neill for putting his country first.
“You cannot question Rob’s commitment,” said O’Neill.
“I’d have missed my own honeymoon to play an international match. I’d have delayed it by 12 years in actual fact!”
Elliot, signed from Charlton Athletic three years ago, booked the stag do a year ago.
“At least there’s a good reason why I’m not going on my own stag do,” said Elliot, who represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level.
“I will be able to look back at it and laugh.
“I’ve had quite a bit of stick from my mates, but you can’t put a price on international football.”
He added: “My fiancee’s OK with it all and says it’s a good opportunity for me. We’ve delayed the honeymoon.”
Elliot is focused on making progress for club AND country over the coming months.
He told the Gazette of his determination to become Newcastle’s first-choice goalkeeper last month.
Tim Krul – who is said to be interesting a number of clubs – is United’s undisputed No1.
But Elliot has proved himself an able deputy over the past two seasons.
“I want to show to everyone I do want to be a Premier League No1,” said Elliot.
“I’m not happy just to sit and be a No2. I really want to push Tim.
“Tim’s a fantastic keeper, so I know I need to raise my game every time I get the chance.”