“I was only winding Mick up!’
Former Hull City striker Dean Windass has revealed that Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy tried to convince him to play for the Boys in Green during his first spell in charge of the national team.
Windass had a career which spanned almost 2o years across all four divisions of English football.
In the early 2000s, he spent time playing in the Premier League with both Bradford and Middlesbrough.
The striker impressed in his first season in the top flight scoring 10 league goals and his performances earned him attention from some national team coaches.
Windass said on the EFL Podcast that Craig Brown, who was in charge of Scotland from 1993 to 2001, inquired about the striker’s eligibility to play for the country.
The striker soon found out, however, after a phone call with his father, that he had no Scottish grandparents.
“I rang up my Dad and said ‘Do I have Scottish grandparents, he said ‘why?’
“I said ‘because I’ve been asked to play for Scotland under Craig Brown’ and he said ‘son, you’re from Hessle Road in Hull. No.’
“I went ‘Alright no problem’ so I rang my agent and I said, ‘Can you tell Craig Brown I’ve got no Scottish grandparents.'”
"I was only winding Mick up!"
— E F L (@EFL) March 16, 2020
The same thing then occurred with Windass and McCarthy. The striker decided to have a bit of fun with the Ireland manager. However, he took it more seriously than Windass initially realised.
“Then when I’m at the PFA Awards I can remember speaking to big Mick and he asked me if I have any Irish grandparents. So, I said yes for a bit of banter thinking nothing of it.
“I rang my Dad up and asked if I have any Irish grandparents and again he said, ‘Son, you’re from Hessle Road in Hull, no, you haven’t got any Irish grandparents.’
“I remember getting a call from Mick McCarthy’s PA asking if I could send information for my Irish grandparents. And I said, ‘well no, I was only winding Mick up!’
“But probably if I’d have had that Irish grandparent I could’ve been playing in that World Cup that year.”
Had things been different, it could have been Dean Windass alongside Robbie Keane up front for Ireland at the 2002 World Cup.
Originally published on March 16, 2020.