Ireland target Hogan taking inspiration from Vardy
Scott Hogan will be planning for a summer holiday with his girlfriend and the prospect of a phone call from Roy Keane when Jamie Vardy collects his Footballer of the Year award this evening, but there will also be the thought of what could be when his former FC Halifax team-mate receives the most prestigious individual honour in English football.
At 24, Hogan finds himself the subject of growing interest from the Premier League and leading Championship clubs after returning from two cruciate ligament injuries in the space of two years with seven goals in seven appearances for Brentford over the final weeks of the season.
He is also of interest to Ireland. The striker, who qualifies through Carlow grandparents, previously turned down an U-21 call due to club commitments but he was watched by Keane at Huddersfield last Saturday and has indicated that the Irish assistant could be persuasive as he considers his international future.
"If Roy Keane rang me up, I couldn't say no to Roy Keane. He is one of my heroes," says the player.
It's easy to see why Hogan is of interest. Having already been compared to Vardy by Rochdale manager Keith Hill during his season-long spell at Spotland as a 21-year-old, Hogan's CV, which also includes a year with the Stocksbridge Park Steels outfit which set Vardy on the road to stardom, has ensured that the Salford-born forward is now being billed as possessing the attributes to emulate the Leicester star.
But after walking away from the game as a teenager and finding himself working in a warehouse, Hogan insists he is happy to embrace the Vardy comparisons after beating two career-threatening injuries.
"I just don't want to go back to a 9-5 job," Hogan said. "I worked in warehouses, order picking, in a chemical factory - it got to the stage where I would try to fit in two half-hour toilet breaks just to break the day up!
"I never want to do it again, which is why I will always fight for everything I have got in football. I was at Stocksbridge and Halifax, two of Jamie's former clubs, so I can see where it (comparison) has come from. Jamie has had an unbelievable rise, though, and of course it is something that will inspire players like me.
"I was with Vards at Halifax and you knew at that stage that he was miles better than anything else at that level but you never imagined that he would go on to win the title, play for England and be Footballer of the Year. Although I am probably ahead of Jamie at the age of 24, you can't deny that he has taken himself to a whole new level." (© Independent News Service)