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Preston star Robinson should be on Republic of Ireland's radar, says Maguire

 

By Daniel McDonnell

Sean Maguire has urged Martin O'Neill to consider his Preston teammate Callum Robinson for an international call-up.

Maguire is in contention for a first Irish start in tomorrow's friendly with Turkey with Martin O'Neill travelling with just three strikers. The established Shane Long and the uncapped Scott Hogan are the other options.

Robinson is a versatile attack-minded wide player who has also operated in a central role, and Maguire has welcomed the news that the 23-year-old wants to switch allegiance.

The ex-Aston Villa man has represented England from U17 to U20 level but qualifies for Ireland through his Monaghan-born grandmother and has stated his desire to play for Ireland with the green contingent at his club a factor in that desire.

"I think Callum is very different to what we have here," said Maguire. "Technically, he is one of the best players I have played with. He can play on the left or the right and he's said that this (season) is the first time that he has played as a number nine.

"He's chipping in with a lot of goals and it's great for him to come out and say that he is able to play for Ireland.

"All he has to do is to keep his head down, keep working as hard as he is doing and hopefully the chance arises for him.

"He would be an addition, massively. He can play number nine and anywhere across the front three. He's a really top player."

Maguire is Preston's man of the moment, though, with five goals in four games since his comeback from a hamstring problem boosting his profile.

He is conscious of the Republic's striking problems and the former Cork City hitman is flattered to be brought up in the context of the need to find a replacement for Robbie Keane.

"To be (mentioned) in that bracket is an achievement in itself," he said. "Obviously there has not been that goalscorer since he has left. I just need to keep working hard.

"I scored a lot of goals with Cork, I've scored a few goals with Preston and when the chance arises tomorrow night, then I feel I can step up to it. I'm a confident player. I owe a lot to Cork City for that because I feel I'm a totally different player to what I was even this time last year."

Preston currently sit in eighth place in the Sky Bet Championship table, only two points adrift of the play-off places, and the frontman is confident they can make it into the mix.

He said: "There are two positions that five or six teams can grab with eight games to go. Eight games in the Championship is massive, anyone could grab those fifth and sixth places.

"I think the top four is pretty much settled with Wolves, Villa, Cardiff and Fulham, but those two places are up for grabs and it feels like we are getting better each game."

The Republic will train at the match venue, the Antalya Stadyumu, this evening.

Local officials have indicated to the FAI that they expect close to a full house at the 32,000-capacity venue.

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