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“I’m very proud to go home and play for my country again"

23 March 2017

Royals keeper Al-Habsi on international duty and looking ahead to Leeds

Reading Goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi says he is proud to be going home to represent his country for the first time this campaign, and was pleased to be jetting off with a big win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Oman will face Bhutan at home in their first qualifier for the Asia Cup on Tuesday, and the Royals keeper says he is always honoured to turn out for his country on the international stage.

“I’m very proud to be going home and to play for my country again,” said Al-Habsi. “To play for the national team is always a proud moment for me.

“I’m happy and I’m much happier going back to Oman having got the win against Sheffield Wednesday and having done the job well against a good side.

“It’s been a long time since I last played for Oman,” Ali continued. "I haven’t played for the national team since last year so it’s good to be going back to play.

“We’ve got the first game of our Asia Cup qualifiers against Bhutan at home, so hopefully I can go back and we can get the three points from that one.”

The Omani international captain says he is hungry to get the three points against Bhutan and wants to return with a winning feeling, to help the team carry on where they left off at Hillsborough.

The keeper stressed the importance of the squad keeping their focus for what he says will be a huge game against Leeds, and is hoping everyone at Madejski Stadium can pull together to pick up another big result.

“It will be great to come back here having won that game,” admitted the Reading stopper. “I can then look forward to what could be an exciting rest of the season.

“We need to focus and look after ourselves during the international break, because we will have another massive, massive game against Leeds coming up. We need everyone, the fans, ourselves and everyone around the club for this game.

“We’ve shown some fantastic performances at home this season,” he continued. “We need to go there, enjoy it, and approach the game in the same way that we did against Sheffield Wednesday.

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