Preston North End forward Callum Robinson catches the eye in the Republic of Ireland's defeat to Wales

Callum Robinson battles with Joe Allen in Dublin on Tuesday night
Callum Robinson battles with Joe Allen in Dublin on Tuesday night

Preston North End’s in-form forward Callum Robinson impressed in the Republic of Ireland’s UEFA Nations League defeat to Wales in Dublin on Tuesday night.

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The 24-year-old was handed his fourth cap from the start at the Aviva Stadium and played an hour of the 1-0 reverse before being replaced by Lilywhites team-mate Sean Maguire.

The third PNE player in Martin O’Neill’s squad, Alan Browne, was an unused substitute in the League B Group Four fixture with Harry Wilson’s free-kick the difference between the sides.

After impressing off the bench in the goalless draw with Denmark on Saturday, Robinson was in from the off for the Irish and caught the eye on another tough night for the hosts.

Giving Ireland some creative flair going forwards, the man who qualified to switch allegiance from England through a Monaghan-born grandmother, went close shortly before half-time with a shot that was blocked by Matthew Smith.

The Republic had had the better of an opening quarter which saw both sides guilty of too many misplaced passes.

Chances were at a premium but the home side should have taken a ninth-minute lead when Cyrus Christie dispossessed Smith on the edge of the area.

Christie had plenty of time to pick his spot but his low effort was palmed away by Wayne Hennessey in the Wales goal.

After Robinson saw his powerful effort hit a defender, a pretty poor first half at the Aviva Stadium ended goalless.

Wales improved at the start of the second half with Joe Allen starting to get a hold in midfield and they were rewarded with the game’s only goal on 58 minutes.

Harry Arter's clumsy challenge on Connor Roberts conceded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area and Wilson stepped up and struck his effort over the Republic wall and past a stunned Randolph to give Wales the lead and send the visiting fans behind the goal wild.

That was enough to settle the contest with Ireland heading to Denmark next month needing a result to avoid relegation to League C.