It was the end of an era for Preston midfielder Alan Browne when he played for the Republic of Ireland’s Under-21s against Serbia.
The clash in Waterford last Friday was his last for the Under-21s, as he turns 22 before the next set of matches.
Unfortunately, he could not go out on a winning note, with Serbia leaving with a 3-2 victory.
Browne pulled on the green shirt 11 times at Under-21s level and the next stage of his international career is to try and force his way into the senior squad.
He also previously played for the Under-19s, so is there is a pathway to progress.
“It is always an honour to play for my country,” said Browne.
“With it being my last game, it was a big occasion for me.
“We tried our best to leave on a high but unfortunately we couldn’t just get the result we wanted.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time with the Under-21s and made the most of it.
“Hopefully I can push on now and aim for the first team.”
Browne returned to Preston on Monday to re-join the North End squad.
It will be a later return for Bailey Wright, the other PNE player who has been away on international duty.
Wright has clocked up the air miles in recent days but for little reward.
He was an unused substitute in two of Australia’s World Cup qualifiers.
Last Thursday, Australia were beaten 1-0 by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah.
Then on Tuesday, they drew 1-1 with Japan in Melbourne.
Wright is due back at Springfields on Thursday, in time to start the build-up to North End’s trip to Brighton on Saturday.
The Amex Stadium visit marks the start of a busy spell for Simon Grayson’s men.
It is followed by next Wednesday’s meeting with Huddersfield at Deepdale.
They then go to Norwich, before back-to-back matches with Newcastle in the League Cup and Championship.
The final game before the next international break is the November 5 clash with Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.
North End had put some form together before the current break in action, with three wins and a draw.
Browne was a substitute in the games against Birmingham and Aston Villa, having started the win over Wigan.
Looking ahead to the next set of games, Browne said: “We play four of the teams at the top.
“We are known for getting good results against some of the better teams, so hopefully we can do that.
“It will be tough but we will do our best to get the points.”
Browne is returning into a competitive area of the North End squad.
For the win against Aston Villa, the midfield berths went to Ben Pearson, John Welsh and Daniel Johnson.
Paul Gallagher and Ben Pringle were on the bench with Browne, underlining the numbers which PNE have for that area of the pitch.
Pearson, Welsh and Johnson all performed very well in the Villa victory and seem likely to keep hold of the shirts against fourth-placed Brighton.