DERBY County skipper Richard Keogh is relishing the chance to test himself against Serbia as the Republic of Ireland warm up for their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Ireland take on the Serbians in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin tonight.
Keogh is back in the international fold, having been included in Martin O’Neill’s first squad as national boss.
The central defender is hoping to add to his two caps to date, against a side that could include the likes of Chelsea duo Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic, and Aleksander Kolarov of Manchester City.
“Hopefully, I can get some pitch time and show what I can do,” said Keogh.
“It’s going to be tough. Serbia have got a strong squad, full of quality Premier League players.
“But our squad is full of good players too.
“Going into the Euro qualifiers, we need to play some tough opponents.
“It’s a great fixture against Serbia to set us up for that.”
Keogh will be hoping to be involved in Ireland’s bid to reach the next European Championships in France.
O’Neill’s men have been drawn in a qualifying group with Germany, Scotland, Poland, Georgia and international new boys Gibraltar.
Keogh is excited about the challenge that lies ahead.
“It’s great to be back involved and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
“It’s something I’ve worked hard for and it’s nice to know that my form has been recognised.
“I’m excited to go away and meet up with the guys again, and to work with the new management staff.
“It’s an exciting time for Irish football and, hopefully, I can play a big part in the future.”
Keogh feels his time away with Ireland can only benefit him as a player.
“When you play with good players and against good players, it can only improve your own game,” he said.
“The Irish guys are great and you can help but learn from the likes of Richard Dunne and John O’Shea.
“It’s great to train with them and play with them.”