Irish eyes on Alan
Alan Browne could go from the Preston substitute's bench to a senior international debut in New Jersey in the space of a month.
The midfielder joined up with the Republic of Ireland squad at Fota Island, near Cork, yesterday, having got a late call-up.
Browne has been drafted in to cover the expected loss of Everton’s James McCarthy and Hull’s David Meyler.
He was an unused sub in North End’s final game of the season at Molineux.
Ten of his Championship appearances this season came from the bench.
Browne has joined PNE team-mates Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle in the Irish squad, so too Aiden McGeady who spent the season at Deepdale on loan from Everton.
Republic manager Martin O’Neill named a 37-man squad last week to cover three games this summer. Around 15 of the squad from Championship clubs are at Fota Island for a three-day training camp this week.
With the Football League season finishing on May 7, O’Neill is keen to put them through their paces after a couple of weeks’ break.
The full squad will meet in Dublin on Sunday, ahead of flying to the United States for a friendly against Mexico at the MetLife Stadium on June 1.
That game is expected to feature a number of squad players, so Browne could get a run together with Horgan and Boyle who made their debuts in March’s friendly against Iceland.
A friendly against Uruguay at the Aviva Stadium on June 4 will see a more experienced side put out in the build-up to the World Cup qualifier with Austria on June 11.
This is a first call-up for Browne to the senior Irish squad. He did get a chance to train with them last year, only for injury to prevent him taking part.
He was capped 11 times at Under-21s level and played for the Under-19s too.
Browne joined PNE as a teenager from Cork City in January 2014, snapped up before making a first-team appearance for the League of Ireland outfit.
He had gone on to make 84 starts and 36 appearances from the bench.
In an interview with the Post shortly before the end of Preston’s campaign, Browne said: “I’ve enjoyed this season, the gaffer has given me an opportunity to play and I have learned a lot.
“He and the coaching staff are always advising and encouraging me, working on things to improve my game.
“It is good to have people like that around me and it helps with my confidence.”
Browne, Horgan and Boyle are due back for pre-season training with North End on June 29, but they might get granted an extra break.