Football: CARSLEY: I'VE EARNED MY CHANCE TO MEET THE ELITE.(Sport)
Byline: CATHAL DERVAN
LEE CARSLEY made his intentions as crystal clear as the Pacific Ocean that awaited the Republic of Ireland's World Cup squad when they finally touched down in the Far East.
The Everton midfielder - the last man into Mick McCarthy's 23 in some people's books - is not along for the ride.
He has not come to Saipan ahead of the final leg of the journey to Japan to "make up the numbers" after edging Celtic's Colin Healy out of the frame.
Laid-back Carsley gets animated when it comes to the subject of his World Cup involvement.
And he says: "I am annoyed at suggestions that I am not here on merit and that I have almost gatecrashed the World Cup.
"I believe I deserve to be here. I have been part of the squad for the last five years, a participating member of the squad, and the only thing that held me back in the qualifying campaign was injury.
"But for a bad run of injuries, I would have been more involved and there would have no questions raised about my involvement. I am not along just for the ride. I'm here to do my bit for Ireland's World Cup bid.
"I have never taken Ireland for granted or seen myself as a bit player. …