Extended summer break will be crucial for Ronan Curtis to rediscover all his Portsmouth exuberance
It’s another proud moment for Ronan Curtis and his family.
Having only broken through from the under-21s to the senior ranks in the past year, it seems Curtis is firmly in Mick McCarthy’s plans for Eire’s European Championship 2020 qualifying campaign.
Handed two caps – against Northern Ireland and Denmark – by Martin O’Neill before his departure last November, the 23-year-old has also impressed the new Ireland manager.
McCarthy ran the rule over Curtis in the Blues’ 3-1 win over Sunderland in December and 2-1 loss at Charlton in March. He scored in both games.
The former Derry City ace has now been called up to the Green Army’s training camp in Portugal, which begins on May 21, before the panel is cut for Euro qualifiers against Gibraltar (June 5) and Denmark (June 8).
After being forced to pull out of Ireland's last squad when he suffered a freak finger injury, Curtis will be desperate to prove himself to McCarthy and his fellow countrymen.
But should the Donegal man be included in those games, it’ll mean his gruelling regime is prolonged even further.
That’s something which won’t be lapped up by the Fratton faithful as it'll mean Curtis will virtually be on the go for 18 months straight.
Derry began pre-season training for their 2018 League of Ireland premier division campaign in the January of that year. The league across the water runs from February to November.
And Curtis and made 22 appearances for Derry before completing his £100,000 switch to Fratton Park last June.
The ex-Swilly Rovers youth player was given a two-and-a-half week summer break before he met up with Kenny Jackett’s men ahead of his maiden season in the Football League.
Surpassing all expectations, the wideman made a scintillating start to his Blues career.
During the first half of the season, Curtis scored eight goals and was key as Pompey sat at the summit of League One.
The fact that he was fitter than everyone else was pinpointed as a positive by Kenny Jackett.
But since the turn of the year, and particularly in recent weeks, the south-London-born talent’s form has dwindled.
He’s scored only four times in 2019, with his overall contributions in games dipping.
Curtis’ talent hasn't completely vanished and he’ll undoubtedly be back to tormenting opposition defences sooner rather than later.
But as a lot of fans would concur, a lengthy and deserved spell of respite is required if Curtis is to recapture his full exuberance.
Such a hectic schedule would catch up with anyone at any level.
Pompey, hopefully, have three more games to play as they aim to clinch promotion through the play-offs, and Curtis will remain an important member of Jackett’s set-up.
Then, even if he’s on his last legs, he’ll still want to be involved in Ireland’s two games should he be selected.
If that’s the case it will take Curtis up to June 8, when he’ll have been involved in potentially 77 games for both club and country.
That’s potentially three weeks after his Blues team-mates depart for the summer, should they not reach Wembley.
So if he’s to rediscover all of his verve and swagger then an extended break after Pompey report back for pre-season duty is something Jackett must seriously consider.