Former Preston North End winger weighs in on Everton youngster Tom Cannon's international future

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Former North End winger Keith Treacy has weighed in on Tom Cannon’s current international dilemma as the Everton striker has now attracted the interest of England.

Liverpool-born Cannon has played through the youth ranks with the Republic of Ireland and his fine form at Deepdale saw him called up to the U21s in March, scoring on his debut.

It’s caused conversation around the national team, with England U21s and manager Lee Carsley expressing their interest in the 20-year-old striker,

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One man joining in with the conversation is the former PNE winger Treacy, who thinks that the management in the Ireland setup will be looking to include only those fully committed to the country.

Keith Treacy in action for PNEKeith Treacy in action for PNE
Keith Treacy in action for PNE

He said: “I find it all a little bit strange really. I feel when you play for a country, it’s your country, it’s what you represent and what’s in your heart.

"I never thought you could pick and choose - the English FA show some interest and you then feel a bit English and go and represent them.

"I don’t like that type of thinking and I’m sure Stephen Kenny and Keith Andrews are having a look at this and thinking if he wants to go to the other camp then let him. They want people who are fully committed here.

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"We’re past anger at this stage. Let’s be honest, we’ve nicked players from the North, Scottish and English players. It’s the way of modern football."

Treacy himself had a chance to switch his allegiance before his senior Ireland career came to fruition, in the end playing six times for the national team. He made 28 appearances through the youth ranks and could have played for Wales instead.

He feels that international football, and who you represent, is quite simple regardless of who you are eligible to play for and questions whether Cannon has been getting advice away from the pitch.

He said: "I remember when I was 16 or 17 and having a conversation with Mark Hughes at Blackburn, and telling him my father was born in Wales," said Treacy.

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"Straight away he gave me an avenue to get into the Wales U21 set-up.

"In my heart I thought, 'I couldn’t play for Wales, I don’t feel one bit Welsh, I’m Irish’. Had I not been good enough to get into the Irish set-up, I wouldn’t have diverted to Wales.

"I understand that sometimes it falls a little bit differently for certain players, but generally it’s very black and white.

"It’s what in your heart. It’s not being Irish because you’re not good enough to get into the English set-up, and then all of a sudden you’re English. I don’t understand that.

"Players saying they’ve changed their mind is a big stretch of the imagination. It’s the people getting in their ear off the pitch."

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