Euro frustration for Preston North End forward Sean Maguire

Preston North End striker Sean Maguire has had to put international ambitions on hold during football’s shutdown.

Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 6:00 am

Maguire would have hoped to be involved in the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifying efforts but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that for the time being.

The Irish should have played Slovakia last week in a semi-final play-off, with the winners facing Bosnia or Northern Ireland in the final.

Those play-offs were initially rearranged for June but yesterday UEFA said they would not go ahead until later in the year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

PNE’s Republic of Ireland frontman Sean Maguire

Maguire told the Lancashire Post: “A few days ago we should have played the Slovakia game.

“A lot of family and friends had booked to fly over, I think there were more than 20 of them going to see the game. It obviously didn’t happen and we will have to see when the game is played with all that has happened.

“The Euros are off until next summer and the aim is to qualify for them through the play-offs.

“It’s something to look forward to when this virus is all over. There is going to be a lot of international football coming up, two tournaments quite close to one another.

“The Euros are next year and then it’s the World Cup in 2022 which is being played in the winter.

“It would be nice to be involved in both although there is a lot of work to be done before that.”

The last game for Maguire and his PNE team-mates was almost a month ago on March 7 against QPR at Deepdale.

Football was suspended on March 13, the day before North End were due to play Luton.

Maguire said: “It seems ages since we last played and so much has happened in the way everyone has to live their lives and stay at home over the last couple of weeks or so.

“I remember back to the Friday before we were due to play Luton.

“Alan Browne called to pick me up to go to training that morning and driving in we didn’t think the game would be going ahead.

“The news had come out that Mikel Arteta the Arsenal manager had tested positive for coronavirus and that put everything in doubt.

“That Friday morning our training was delayed half an hour as we knew the EFL were having a meeting.

“We still trained, tried to prepare as normal for Luton.

“Then a couple of hours later we were driving away knowing the game was off and that we wouldn’t be playing for a while.

“We did a couple of sessions at the start of the following week but we’ve been at home since, keeping our fitness up and waiting for the time when we can train again.”