Donegal-born soccer star Stephen McLaughlin is being tipped to join the Republic of Ireland squad.
The Inishowen man played League of Ireland football alongside James McClean while he was at Derry City.
But the Evening Herald reports the duo could be reunited on the international stage, according to McLaughlin’s manager at club level.
Southend United may be mid-table in England’s third tier but there’s a strong Irish influence at the club, with senior cap Simon Cox, former LOI star Dave Mooney, ex-U21 cap Michael Timlin and winger McLaughlin all in the side under Phil Brown.
When Championship players, such as John Egan, Matt Doherty, Greg Cunningham or Conor Hourihane, can’t get into the Ireland squad, it’s a big ask to expect a League One player to make it, as Christopher Forrester and Paddy Madden have found out.
But Brown, who managed Hull City in the Premier League and had players like Stephen Hunt and Kevin Kilbane in the Irish squad, sees a role there for McLaughlin (26) as well as a possible recall for Cox.
“It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if Macca was on the radar of the Republic of Ireland squad at the moment because he certainly deserves to be as far as I’m concerned,” says Brown of McLaughlin, who has scored six goals in 19 games for United this season.
“He’s in very good form and to have already scored six goals is excellent.
“We haven’t had any contact with the Ireland set up but if Macca keeps this up then he definitely has to be in with a chance of getting a call up.”
The Clonmany man is yet to be capped at any level and he played down the Ireland talk.
“The Ireland squad is really strong at the moment which is great to see and there are a lot of quality players around so it would be extremely difficult for anyone to get a call up, especially when you’re in League One,” he told the Southend Echo.Tags: