RICHARD Keogh says he has plenty to thank Giovanni Trapattoni for and the Derby County defender now hopes to impress the next manager of the Republic of Ireland.
Trapattoni left his post by mutual consent following Tuesday's defeat by Austria in a World Cup qualifier which all but ended Ireland's hopes of reaching next summer's finals in Brazil.
The 74-year-old Italian was in charge five years and he handed Keogh his first cap in the friendly against Poland in February - the same game in which Keogh's Rams team-mates Conor Sammon and Jeff Hendrick made their debuts.
Keogh's other cap came when he started and scored in a victory over Georgia in May.
"I have got a lot to thank him (Trapattoni) for. He gave me my debut for Ireland, so for that I owe him a lot," said Keogh.
"The last two qualifiers have been disappointing and may be it was time for a change but when you look at his record, he has been great for the country and he leaves with his held held high."
Trapattoni won 26 and drew 22 of his 64 matches and he guided the Republic to the finals of Euro 2012.
They were drawn in a tough World Cup group with Germany, Sweden and Austria.
"When you go into a group like that, you have got to be realistic," said Keogh.
"We were realistic in that we could go for that second place.
"If you look at Germany, they are are a world-class team with world-class players, but we knew we could hunt for that second spot and I think we were right in there challenging until the home game against Austria when we conceded in stoppage time. That was a blow.
"Sweden last week was a massive game. We went one up but a couple of lapses of concentration proved costly."
Keogh has been overlooked for recent squads.
"I have been disappointed not to be involved, but that is football," he said.
"If I can keep playing well for Derby and the team keeps playing some good football then hopefully I will be in and around the squad, and hopefully in it.
"Once you get a taste for international football, you want more.
"After the Georgia game, and not just because of my goal, I came off the pitch thinking I had shown I can play at that level.
"Ask any player who is in the squad and then not called up for the next game, there is a natural disappointment. So, yes, there was an air of frustration.
"I have been very proud to play for Ireland and hopefully I can do so again."
Ex-Celtic, Aston Villa and Leicester City manager Martin O'Neill and Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy are among the early favourites to land the Ireland job.
Keogh hopes to catch the eye of whoever is appointed.
"It is a clean slate for everybody," said the Derby skipper.
"I've heard a few names mentioned and they are all fantastic managers.
"I am enjoying playing for Derby County and if I can keep playing well then hopefully the new manager will like what he sees and I can be back involved."