Catlin: Portsmouth winger’s maiden Republic of Ireland cap hopefully first of many 

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Mark Catlin saluted Ronan Curtis after his international debut and declared: I hope it’s the first of many.

The Pompey winger won his first Republic of Ireland senior cap on Thursday.

Republic of Ireland's Ronan Curtis, left, and Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart battle for the ball during the International Friendly at The Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

Republic of Ireland's Ronan Curtis, left, and Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart battle for the ball during the International Friendly at The Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

Curtis replaced Callum O’Dowda at half-time during the goalless draw with neighbours Northern Ireland at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

His Eire bow was just reward for the barnstorming form he’s been in for Kenny Jackett’s League One table-toppers this season.

Curtis has registered six goals and seven assists following his arrival from Derry City for an undisclosed fee in June.

Catlin has been impressed by how quickly the 22-year-old has acclimatised his new Football League surroundings. 

And the Fratton Park chief executive spoke of the Blues’ pride after Curtis made his maiden Republic of Ireland appearance.

‘We are really proud of Ronan,’ said Catlin. 

‘First and foremost, our priority is Portsmouth Football Club.

‘But below that then it’s great to see individual players’ progression.

‘It shows, as a club, we must be doing something right.

‘Ronan’s been outstanding since he arrived from the League of Ireland to League One.

‘Obviously, you wouldn’t be presumptuous to say it’s a step up, but it is different in many respects – such as coping with the levels of the crowd and the expectation levels at Portsmouth.

‘He’s really taken to it like a duck to water. Knowing Ronan as I have done in the short period of time, he would have expected to help himself.

‘He’s a very confident lad. He got his reward by getting the international call-up initially and then progressed into the team.

‘We’re really pleased for him and it’s part of what we believe will be his continued development.

‘I hope it is the first of many.’

Despite winning his maiden Ireland cap, Catlin has insisted Pompey will continue to support Curtis – and keep him grounded. 

And the chief executive reckons the south London-born ace's international bow is a testament to the job Jackett and the club are doing.

Catlin added: ‘You have to be careful and keep grounded given the history of players who arrive at a club, have an initial burst and then burn out.

‘Ronan, Kenny as manager and the club have to just keep supporting him.

‘We need to make sure he does the right things on and off the pitch and, if he does get the call-ups and breaks into the team, that shows he must be doing a good job here.

‘That’s obviously good for everyone concerned.’