GALWAY lad Ryan Manning will progress to play at Premier League and international level, the player's manager at club level believes.
anning (20) has only 12 first team appearances under his belt at QPR this season, having been given a debut by new boss Ian Holloway in December. A senior international call up will have to wait as the former Galway United man won't be involved for the World Cup qualifier at home to Wales and will instead get his first-ever call up to the U21 squad, for a Euro qualifier against Kosovo.
But Holloway feels Manning has the talent to go all the way. "He could easily come in and play against Wales but I'm not going to tell Martin O'Neill what to do," Holloway told The Herald.
"I see Ryan day in, day out. I have had some wonderful players and, in my view, Ryan is up there with them. I don't know who else Ireland have to pick from but it's only a matter of time before he gets into the international team, never mind the squad, he is that good. He is a special talent.
"He can play Premier League and international football, without a shadow of a doubt. I have no doubt about that, it's just where he is going to play.
"He came here as a striker, a No. 10 with that left foot of his - which is a wand, by the way. He has athleticism, a desire to get down the pitch. I am not sure where he is going to end up playing, in central midfield as part of a three, but he could play anywhere down the left, as an attacking full back, a bit like Seamus Coleman who was fantastic for me at Blackpool."
Holloway has worked under some really talented Irish players in his club career, having managed the likes of Seamus Coleman, Andy Reid, Damien Delaney and David Forde, though he can't pick out one player. "I can't pick favourites. I have four kids but no favourites, as long as they behave I like them all," Holloway joked.
"You haven't got a squad unless you've got a Scot or an Irish boy in it, in my opinion. It's the quality and the character of the people, the extra bit that they bring you, the fight that they have got. It adds a bit of sanity to what you already have and in the day of so many foreigners in the game, it's absolutely vital you have a keen, fresh, realistic, hard-working, down to earth person and that's probably the highest compliment I can pay anybody from that country, you realise that people are important.
"Ryan Manning has that wonderful sense of humanity which is rare but which every Irish person I have worked with has. And that's a credit.
"Whatever he puts his mind to, he can do, he is a very talented boy but, deep down, what I like most about him is how ordinary he is. He has had a lot of success, after having a bit of a bad time, but he is such a joy to work with. Well done to his mum and dad. I am very privileged to have him."
*Full interview in Friday's edition of The Herald.