Preston North End midfielder Alan Browne looking for Republic of Ireland chance

Preston midfielder Alan Browne
Preston midfielder Alan Browne

Preston midfielder Alan Browne has the distinction of being the only PNE first-team player on international duty.

He is in the Republic of Ireland squad for Thursday night’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland and the friendly with Bulgaria next Tuesday – both games being played in Dublin.

Browne up against France's Steven Nzonzi (right) on international duty with the Republic of Ireland

Browne up against France's Steven Nzonzi (right) on international duty with the Republic of Ireland

Sean Maguire was initially in the squad too. However the striker was forced to pull out after suffering an eye injury in training last week.

Browne, 24, has yet to get going at international level.

While his Ireland debut came more than two years ago against Mexico, he has only three caps to his name.

Injuries have got in the way – he was forced to pull out of the squad three times last season.

He did so this time last year due to a calf injury, then damaged ankle ligaments saw him miss March’s matches.

In May he joined up with the squad for a training camp in Portugal but a calf strain saw him miss two qualifiers which the Irish played in June.

It has been a somewhat strange first month of this season for Browne at PNE.

He started the opening game against Millwall but had to make do with a seat on the bench against Wigan, Swansea and Stoke in the Championship. He was recalled to the side against Sheffield Wednesday, playing in midfield. Last Saturday, Browne was switched to the right-back role at Nottingham Forest.

That was a position he had played in for the League Cup ties with Bradford and Hull.

The No.10 role which has largely been his over the last two seasons, is presently filled by Daniel Johnson.

In that more advanced role, Johnson has shone with four goals and three assists.

On the international front, a substitute’s role might be the best Browne can hope for in the Switzerland game.

However, Bulgaria’s visit to the Aviva Stadium could well provide a chance for the Cork man to press his claim.