Stephen Hunt has set his sights on starting for the Republic of Ireland when they face Sweden in a crucial World Cup qualifier in March.

The Wolves winger is currently recovering from a hip operation and is expected to be out for another six to eight weeks.

Now he has revealed that his target is to force his way into Giovanni Trapattoni’s selection for the Group C game in Stockholm on 22 March.

Hunt told TV3: "I want to be starting for the Sweden game away. That’s my plan, that’s my aim.

"It’s something that people might think will never happen but in my eyes I’ll be starting against Sweden."

“In terms of how he’s gone about his job, he’s ruthless" - Stephen Hunt

Hunt, 31, featured in seven competitive fixtures in-a-row immediately preceding the European Championships, but despite Ireland’s dreadful performances, Trapattoni decided not to introduce the Waterford man in Poland.

He said of the Italian: "In terms of how he’s gone about his job, he’s ruthless. He has brought me on or played me in every game for the last four or five years leading up to the Euros and in the three games, where we went behind, he didn’t see me as the player to come on and get back in the game, win the game.

"Obviously, I disagree but he’s ruthless. He’ll do things his way. He’ll get the results his way. He’s a top professional.

"I know he likes me as a person and we get on well but I still didn’t drag him around into bringing me on. I disagree but we’ll crack on and hopefully work together in the future."

Despite admitting to severe frustration in the wake of Euro 2012, Hunt has given his backing to the under-fire manager.

"It’s a results-based game. You have to win games to qualify for tournaments and then make money, we’ve done that the last time," Hunt added. 

"Financially, he’s done a good job for the FAI in terms of what he’s achieved. He’s brought back some good times as well.

"Obviously, the Euros was a disappointment. It put him under pressure but I think he’s used to that, he’s been around the block a few times."