Call of duty for PNE five

Chris Humphrey is in Jamaica's squad
Chris Humphrey is in Jamaica's squad
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Five Preston North End players have received call-ups by their countries for the current international break.

Jordan Pickford, Bailey Wright, Chris Humphrey, Alan Browne and Clive Smith will be on national service in the coming days.

Pickford is in the England Under-21s squad for next Tuesday night’s 2017 Euro qualifier against Kazakhstan at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.

The goalkeeper, on loan from Sunderland, won his first two Under-21s caps last month.

He kept clean sheets in both, England beating the United States Under-23s 1-0 at Deepdale and then Norway by the same scoreline.

Another game on the international stage is a chance for Pickford to enhance his good start to the season.

Despite PNE’s struggles in the Championship, he has stood out as one of their performers.

While Pickford heads to St George’s Park later in the week to meet up with Gareth Southgate’s squad, Wright, Humphrey and Browne go further afield.

Central defender Wright has joined up with Australia’s squad for their World Cup qualifier against Jordan later this week.

The Socceroos are training in Amman – the Jordanian capital – and victory would push them closer to the next stage of qualification.

They top their group after three games, Wright having started the last two wins against Bangladesh and Tajikistan.

Should Australia win their group, they would progress to a second qualifying stage.

Wright has steadily been establishing himself on the international stage since his first involvement with Australia in 2014. He has joined up with them, having missed North End’s 3-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday because of suspension.

Jamaica have called up Humphrey for their friendly in South Korea next week.

The winger was pressed into service as a right-back in the Wednesday loss, playing 80 minutes there after the early injury to Paddy McCarthy.

Midfielder Browne has two games ahead of him for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s.

They play Lithuania in Waterford on Friday and then go to Italy next Tuesday, both matches Euro qualifiers.

Browne has forced his way back into first-team contention at Deepdale since the last international break.

The 20-year-old has started the last four games, Saturday’s goal at Hillsborough his first in the league for nearly a year.

Second-year trainee Smith is attending a Wales Under-19s training camp in Newport.

The right-back has made North End’s senior squad in the last few weeks – he was an unused substitute in the Capital One clash against Bournemouth, and travelled to Sheffield Wednesday.

Greg Cunningham was in an initial 40-man Republic of Ireland squad but did not make the final cut.

Once this international break is over, North End have six games before the next one.

That falls between the visit to Queens Park Rangers on November 7 and the eagerly anticipated local derby with Blackburn on November 21.

International football then goes into cold storage until the third week of March, allowing a four-month unbroken run of action for clubs.