Ronan Curtis reflected on his Republic of Ireland senior squad experience and revealed: It was amazing.
The Pompey forward was given a surprise maiden call-up to Martin O’Neill’s side for their 1-1 draw against Poland on Tuesday.
Curtis was away with his country’s under-21s last week, missing the Blues’ clash with Shrewsbury.
The 22-year-old netted the equaliser to earn Noel King’s side a 1-1 draw in Kosovo.
However, Curtis picked up a third yellow card during their European Championship qualifying campaign, meaning he was suspended for Ireland's clash against Germany three days later.
After departing King’s squad to visit his family in Derry, he was told to return to Dublin for senior duty.
And Curtis did not hesitate to head back to the capital to link up with O’Neill’s squad.
He said: ‘I thought I’d only had one booking before the Kosovo game.
‘Afterwards the gaffer, Noel King, came up to me and said I was suspended for the Germany game.
‘I was actually fuming because everyone wants to play the Germans – they’re one of the best teams in the world.
‘I had the choice to stay, go back to Portsmouth or go home, so I decided to go to Derry and see my baby and the family.
‘We got back to Dublin from Kosovo on the Saturday at 3.30pm. I then travelled up to Derry, just got there and found out I’d been called up to the senior squad.
‘I was in shock and couldn’t wait to get back down, meet the boys and hopefully make my debut.’
Curtis was not handed his full Ireland bow during the 1-1 draw with Poland in Wroclaw.
However, he received words of wisdom from captain and Everton-full-back Seamus Coleman.
And Curtis got to rub shoulders with Robert Lewandowski – one of his footballing idols.
He added: ‘It was all about the experience for me to meet all the players. It was amazing.
‘The boys were amazing. Seamus Coleman spoke to me a lot and so did Shane Duffy. He knows me because he’s also from Derry.
‘Seamus Coleman took me under his wing and had some good chats with me.
‘Lewandowski is one of my idols, someone I look up to being a natural striker. He’s amazing and he could have earned his 100th cap if he’d have played.
‘Looking out on the pitch there were all these big names like Lukasz Fabianski.
‘There were 60-odd thousand at the stadium. It felt like it was a concert because I’ve never experienced anything like that before.’
Curtis is now aiming be involved in Ireland’s squad for their games against Northern Ireland and Denmark next month.
‘Hopefully Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane keep watching me and put their faith in me again,’ he said.
‘The gaffer said to me keep doing what you’re doing at the club and you might get a call-up again.
‘I don’t know why he wouldn’t put his faith in me and he has already.
‘I have one foot in the door.
‘They have two games at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin and it’d be great to make my debut.’