Towell eyes Euro place as Brighton move edging closer
With his move to Brighton and Hove Albion expected to be finalised over the next 48 hours, Richie Towell has turned his sights towards becoming the Euro 2016 wild card of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.
Ireland's assistant boss endorsed the PFAI Player of the Year accolade bestowed on the Dundalk double-winner last Friday when presenting him with the trophy, and now Towell wants to share the company of his childhood hero more often.
To press his claims for inclusion in the squad for next summer's Euros, the midfielder recognises he must first hit the ground running upon starting life in the English Championship on January 1.
The 24-year-old last week met the boss of joint-leaders Brighton, former Ireland defender Chris Hughton, at the club's training ground and, without revealing the club, admits a deal could have been struck before the weekend.
He's prepared to be patient but believes his future will be resolved before his girlfriend, Kelly Kirwan, gives birth to their first child in a fortnight.
"The clubs in for me now are very ambitious sides that are Premier League-ready," he admitted.
"It's just about trying to sort out the final things. I never rush into anything - I always like to have a look at every angle. Going to League One or League Two was never really an option for me.
"I want to go to improve my career; prove myself as a player and to be successful."
Adding senior caps to the array of underage appearances he made would rank high in that success. If James McClean proved the 'bolter' for the 2012 Euros, then another League of Ireland export reckons he can mount a late tilt at snaffling a place in the 23-man squad for this latest instalment.
"Everyone knows how confident I am and I do think I am good enough to break into the Ireland squad," said Towell.
"I know they have a really strong side - I'm not being disrespectful to any of the players in it - but I'd back myself over anyone any day.
"Luckily enough, I played for the U-21s alongside Jeff Hendrick and James McCarthy as the midfield trio. I'd love to recapture that.
"Roy said I broke his heart by scoring the winner against Cork City in the FAI Cup final. Hopefully I'll be seeing a lot more of him pretty soon; that's the plan."
Meanwhile, League of Ireland clubs are poised to find out whether they're being short-changed by the Football Association of Ireland after nominating renowned barrister Michael Cush SC to represent them in the fall-out of the Conroy Report.