Preston striker Sean Maguire thinks moving to Deepdale has given his international ambitions a big boost.
The 23-year-old joined up with the Republic of Ireland squad on Monday ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales.
Maguire’s form at Cork City had led to calls for him to make the Irish squad but it is only since joining PNE that chances have come his way.
He made a provisional squad for last month’s games and this time survived the cut.
It might be that he still has to bide his time for a cap, bearing in mind there are other strikers ahead of him in the pecking order.
But he has taken a big step forward and is enjoying being part of the Irish set-up.
Maguire said: “I did well at Cork City and felt I had to go to Preston to show what I can do at that level – kick on and be an international player.
“I’ve had a decent start there, I’ve been playing out on the wing so the chances are a bit harder to come by from playing up front with Cork.
“But I’m enjoying it and hopefully I can kick on from there.
“If the opportunity comes to play games, I feel I can step up and do the business.
“I just need to work hard in training this week and show the gaffer I’m well capable of coming in and doing a job.
“Whether it’s this time in the two games, or a month down the line or next year, I need to be ready and patient, be mentally ready.”
Maguire arrived at PNE in July and has settled quickly into life at Deepdale.
He has started 10 of their 11 Championship games, in the main starting out wide or in a support role to Jordan Hugill.
“I’ve slightly improved my game, I’ve had to adapt to the higher standard,” said Maguire.
“There have been some games this season when the ball has been taken off me a bit too easily, whereas in the League of Ireland I might have had a bit more time on it.
“You’ve got to be mentally focused throughout the game and remain concentrated.
“We play a 4-2-3-1 with Hugill as the focal point.
“I played the first game up front and there were a couple of games where we played up front together.
“Across the front four, the manager has mixed and matched.
“Even before Cork, I played across a four so it hasn’t come as a surprise.
“I knew when I came to England I would have to adapt because I wouldn’t be a No.9 straight away.”