Thursday 24 May 2018

Daryl Horgan believes his Preston team-mate Sean Maguire is ready to start his first game for Ireland

Preston North End and Republic of Ireland’s Daryl Horgan spoke to Independent.ie at the launch of FIFA 18 Ultimate Team Green item, as part of this year’s FUT Birthday celebration.
Preston North End and Republic of Ireland’s Daryl Horgan spoke to Independent.ie at the launch of FIFA 18 Ultimate Team Green item, as part of this year’s FUT Birthday celebration.
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Daryl Horgan has backed his Preston team-mate Seanie Maguire to make a big impact in the Ireland team in 2018, as he suggested his in-form team-mate is ready to start international matches.

Ireland’s lack of striking options has been a major concern since the retirement of record scorer Robbie Keane and the presence of just three strikers in the Ireland squad named by boss Martin O’Neill for the game against Turkey on Friday highlighted that void.

Yet Magure’s sparkling form as he spearheads Preston’s promotion push could propel him to the top of O’Neill’s striking options, with the out-of-form Shane Long and Aston Villa novice Scott Hogan the only other options.

“I think Seanie could score goals at any level and that includes the senior Ireland team,” Horgan told the Sunday World.

“He had a tough injury that kept him out for four months and it was a horrible or him. He was working away in the gym on his own watching the lads out training every day and it was not much fun, but he has come back now and he is flying and he has got a few vital goals. Fingers crossed he can keep it going and can fire us into the play-offs.

“Of course he could do a job for Ireland. At Cork City and now here at Preston, he has shown the kind on instincts he has in front of goal. If he keeps doing what he has been doing for us in the Championship this season, he should get a chance for Ireland.

“It is a big step up from League of Ireland football, but Seanie has shown that you can make that leap if you are good enough and I’d love to see him get a chance with Ireland in Turkey next week.”

Horgan believes Championship division could be a breeding ground for the next generation of Ireland internationals, as he suggests the quality of England’s second-tier league is more than good enough to hone international hopefuls.

“The Championship division is high quality,” he added. “There are a lot of international players in this league, a lot of money is being spent and it is very competitive from top to bottom.

“We are playing against international players every week, lads who have played in the Premier League and at World Cup finals, so this is a massive step up from the League of Ireland.

“What you have to do is back yourself to get the standards you need at this level and there is no reason why more players from the League of Ireland make the breakthrough with England in the next few years.

“You look at Kevin Doyle and Shane Long, who came over to England and have had very good careers at the highest level and that is still possible. I’m sure people will still get into the Premier League from League of Ireland teams and if they have to take the route of going via the Championship, then so be it.”

Republic of Ireland winger Daryl Horgan is going green in FIFA Ultimate Team as part of this year’s FIFA 18 FUT Birthday celebrations. Don’t miss your chance to unlock special green items, and unwrap an exclusive St Patrick’s Day kit available in FIFA Ultimate Team now until Friday 23rd March!

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