Wolves wing back Matt Doherty has revealed how he averted a potential skin cancer scare last month.
The 27-year-old missed Ireland’s last two Euro 2020 qualifiers, a 1-1 draw against Switzerland and a 3-1 win over Bulgaria, to undergo a procedure at the beginning of September.
Wolves’ longest-serving player has now revealed he had a growth removed from his lip, admitting skin cancer had been mentioned, but not in worrying terms.
“It was something like a freckle. I thought it was nothing but the doc saw it,” said Doherty, speaking in Dublin before Saturday’s qualifier away to Georgia.
“I told him it had been there for about a year and it had probably got a bit bigger.
“So we went to the dermatologist and she was like: ‘I don’t like it, you’re going to have to have it cut out’.”
He added: “Skin cancer – that word was mentioned but not in a threatening way. It was just ‘let’s see what happens’. I was never really in full panic mode.”
Doherty admitted he was not at 100 per cent after playing the first three Premier League games of the season, when he did not look as sharp as usual.
He then missed the Europa League win over Torino which sealed Wolves’ place in the group stage, and wasn’t in the squad for the 3-2 defeat at Everton, although he travelled to Goodison and took part in some light training after the match.
Doherty is now preparing for a return to international action under his old Wolves manager Mick McCarthy in Tblisi on Saturday, but not in his normal position of wing back or even right back.
With Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens suspended for the game, Doherty seems likely to step up in his place at left back to occupy a position for played in for 18 months earlier in his Wolves career.
“Yes, of course. I’m totally comfortable playing in that position,” he said. “If that is the case, then yes, I’ll enjoy it and grab the opportunity with both hands.
“I played two seasons there for Wolves – one and a half seasons, maybe – so it would be nothing new to me.
Doherty has had to remain patient on the international front since making his debut as a substitute in a 1-0 friendly defeat in Turkey in March 2018, adding only six caps since.
One of them was in a failed experiment when he was asked to play in a midfield role ahead of Coleman in Gibraltar in Ireland’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier.
However, he sees his versatility as an asset rather than a curse.
“It just means if I can’t get into the team in one position, I might be able to get in at another,” said Doherty.
“You’re still in the team and that would be the most important thing. As long as you’re in the team, you’re happy.”
McCarthy’s men top Group D and know a win in Georgia would send them into their final two fixtures – Switzerland in Geneva on Tuesday and Denmark in Dublin next month – with every chance of qualifying for next summer’s finals.
“It will go a long way towards qualification, so we need to really focus and concentrate on the next two games and hopefully bring the form from previous games into these and get some points,” added Doherty.