Wolves defender Stearman hopes to play for Republic of Ireland

Wolves defender Richard Stearman could be playing for the Republic of Ireland next season.

It is believed the Football Association of Ireland is completing the paperwork which will make him eligible.

Wolverhampton-born Stearman, a former England Under-21 international, qualifies for Giovanni Trapattoni's side through his maternal grandparents.

He has spoken of his hope of winning senior international recognition with the Republic of Ireland.

"It is in the process at the moment. I am gaining a passport and citizenship and hopefully that will be not far around the corner," Stearman, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Ipswich, told the East Anglian Daily Times in February. 

"All my family on my mother's side are Irish and I am looking to get on the international scene."

Trapattoni has cast the net wide in recent seasons in an attempt to increase his pool of players.

Richard Dunne, John O'Shea, Sean St Ledger and Darren O'Dea have been his central defensive mainstays in recent seasons, but he is keen to blood younger players and Everton full-back Seamus Coleman and Wigan midfielder James McCarthy established themselves as regulars last season.

Stearman's club future is currently uncertain with Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy, who took him on loan from Wolves in January, keen to make the reunion permanent after a successful spell at Portman Road.

However, Wolves are understood to have placed a £1m price-tag on the man they signed from Leicester in June 2008.