Ben Reeves paid tribute to Karl Robinson and his MK Dons team-mates after receiving his first international call-up.
Reeves flew out to Larnaca with the Northern Ireland team on Sunday ahead of their international friendly with Cyprus on Wednesday night. The young midfielder is one of only two players from Sky Bet League 1 included in the 20-man squad, along with Bradford City defender Rory McArdle.
Eligible to represent Northern Ireland through his grandmother, Reeves will earn his first cap if selected later this week and speaking to MK Dons Player on Saturday evening the 20-year-old spoke of his excitement at having the opportunity to test himself on the big stage.
He said: “I’m obviously delighted and I can’t wait to get started. Every player wants to play international football and luckily I’ve got the chance to do that. I’m thankful to Michael O’Neill for calling me up and hopefully I can impress.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’ve also got to thank the manager and team because if it wasn't for them I might not be getting this opportunity. The season I’ve had is down to the manager and the staff for giving me an opportunity and for trusting me enough in the summer to sign me.”
Reeves was speaking in the aftermath of the Dons’ 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United, a result which saw the side fail to close the gap on the play-off places.
Due to injuries to Stephen Gleeson and Darren Potter, Reeves was forced to play a much deeper role during the game and the 20-year-old admitted afterwards that he would have liked to contribute a little more to the contest.
He added: “Me and Dele played there together in pre-season against Tottenham (Hotspur) and it worked really well. (On Saturday) it probably didn’t click as well as we would have liked but it’s something we need to work on as a pair.
“It was a difficult day and a difficult loss to take but at the end of it I don’t think we can have too many complaints. We’re all disappointed with the goal. That’s all they wanted, just that one goal to hold onto and they did that well. We should have been wiser to what they were going to do.”