Saturday 24 March 2018

Maguire has to be given his opportunity now - Andrews

Keith Andrews at a preview of Sky Sports’ coverage of the Premier League season, which kicks off with Arsenal v Leicester on August 11. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Keith Andrews at a preview of Sky Sports’ coverage of the Premier League season, which kicks off with Arsenal v Leicester on August 11. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Keith Andrews expects Sean Maguire to be an option for Ireland by September and thinks the selection of a confident striker with his qualities is now a 'no-brainer'.

The former Ireland midfielder is a huge admirer of Maguire after going to watch the striker in action for Cork City and thinks he's a different type of performer to any other options Martin O'Neill has at disposal.

Andrews also believes Maguire will take his bow in English football when Preston kick off their Championship campaign against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

But Andrews doesn't need validation at that level to believe that the Kilkenny man is good enough to wear the green jersey.

"I am not judging it on League of Ireland level, I am judging it on him and I believe he is far above that level," said Andrews yesterday.


"I watched him at Bray Wanderers a few weeks ago and he was toying with them. He was on a different level to everyone else on the pitch; he was playing on the playground.

"That's why he will slot in seamlessly at Preston. I do think that he will make a big impact and I think he will be in the squad in September."

"I think that he has done as much as he can thus far. At times there has been too much hype about certain players and too much of a clamour for certain players to be in Ireland squads that I would not have agreed with.

"But I think with this player, I think that he is on a different level, and I think that he has got to be given the opportunity now while he is in this vein of form. Being confident is a big part of football."

Andrews started to track Maguire at the start of the season when he received calls from League One clubs about him.

"I rang a couple of people who have worked with him and they gave me glowing references," he continued.

"As the season has gone on, it's not just the goals. Take the goals out of the equation and it's his movement, his brightness, his brain. He is a very, very clever footballer.

"He cannot be more confident than he is right now so he has to be given the opportunity now to get the best out of him. I think it's a no-brainer, I really do.

"He will get his opportunity at Preston and if he doesn't start, he will certainly get on at the weekend. I would be amazed if he is not in the squad for Georgia and Serbia in September."

O'Neill said in the summer that Maguire needed time to show he was ready, but Andrews feels the Irish boss can spring a surprise - pointing to Kevin Long's sudden inclusion in June.

"He does not stick to the rule book. If he feels it, he will do it," Andrews continued. "I would be amazed if he does not play some part (in September).

"He is ideal for what we need. He is a clever player, he is an out and out finisher, he's bang in form, full of confidence - it's a no-brainer.

"I do think he needs to play off a Jon Walters or a Daryl Murphy or that type. Or if Wes (Hoolahan) is in the team and you're going to build up through the thirds and you're going to play, then he's ideal because he's make those clever movements down the side of centre halves and drop into little pockets.

"I think he's very different to what we have. I tried to liken him to someone we've had at our disposal in the last 10 or 15 years and I'm struggling to think of one."

Andrews is happy with the summer movements of the Ireland squad - particularly Darren Randolph's switch to Middlesbrough - and is confident about World Cup qualification prospects although he does have a gut feeling about the route to get there.

"Serbia are a very good side," he said, "And if you're asking me to bet on it, I think we'll go to Russia via the play-off"

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