Irish eyes are smiling on PNE star

Alan Browne has been named Republic of Ireland  Under-21s player of  the yearAlan Browne has been named Republic of Ireland  Under-21s player of  the year
Alan Browne has been named Republic of Ireland Under-21s player of the year
Preston North End midfielder Alan Browne has been recognised as one of the Republic of Ireland's top young talents.

Browne was named as Under-2s1 international player of the year at the FAI International Awards held in Dublin on Sunday night.

The 20-year-old attended the ceremony to pick up his prize, other winners on the night including Shane Long, Robbie Brady and Jonathan Walters.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It capped a good few days for Browne, who signed a new three-and-a-half- year contract with North End last week.

Browne stayed on in Dublin after the ceremony to join up with the Republic of Ireland Under-21s squad.

Whether he stays with them is another matter, a hip flexor injury putting his involvement in European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Slovenia, in doubt.

It is an injury which has forced him to miss PNE’s last three matches.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ireland’s medical staff have been assessing him and he will return to Preston for further treatment if he has not recovered sufficiently.

As well as playing for the Under-21s, Browne was due to train with Martin O’Neill’s senior squad this week.

This season, Browne has become an integral part of the North End squad, making 33 appearances.

Reaching the 20-game mark triggered a clause in his contract which allowed him to negotiate a new deal, which was the one which he signed last week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Preston manager Simon Grayson says the fact Browne has signed new deals twice in nine months, reflects the progress the midfielder has made.

Said Grayson: “Alan has done all right for himself 
over the last few months and his new contract is well deserved.

“We structure our deals here that if players are doing well, we will reward them with new ones.

“We are not going to give them big, lavish contracts to start off with.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They have to earn the right to receive them and Alan has done that with his.

“We will continue working hard with him to make sure he keeps on improving because we think Alan has still got a lot more to bring to the table.”

At the FAI awards, Stoke striker Walters was named senior international player of the year.

The international goal of the year was won by Southampton front man Shane Long for a strike against Germany.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Norwich City midfielder Brady was named young international player of the year.

Former Chelsea and ROI striker Tony Cascarino was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

With Browne maybe missing out on the Under-21s because of his injury, and Greg Cunningham missing the cut for the senior party after being named in a provisional squad, Bailey Wright could be left as the only Lilywhites player on international duty.

He is in the Australia squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Wright flew Down Under after Saturday’s draw with Queens Park Rangers.

He had his first training session with the Socceroos on Monday at the Adelaide Oval, that the venue for Thursday’s game with Tajikistan.

Australia then face Jordan in Sydney on Tuesday.