Preston frontman Callum Robinson has taken a big step towards appearing on the full international scene.
He was yesterday named in the Republic of Ireland squad for a friendly against Celtic a week on Sunday.
While the 40-man squad also covers international friendlies against France and the USA, Robinson will not be able to play in those two games as the necessary paperwork has not gone through.
But he can face Celtic, as that game is a testimonial match for Hoops skipper Scott Brown.
Robinson, 23, qualifies for the Republic through his late grandmother. He played for England at four age levels but can switch allegiance.
It involves providing proof of his Irish ancestry and FIFA needs that before he can play in international games. Robinson let it be known earlier this year that he was interested in playing for the Emerald Isle – swelling the Irish contingent at Deepdale.
Ireland boss Martin O’Neill watched him in action in PNE’s 1-0 win at Sheffield United last month and now wants another look against Celtic.
“He has declared for us,” said O’Neill.
“I went to see their game at Sheffield United. He’s a nice little footballer.
“He was at Aston Villa as a kid.
“I just want to clarify that he will be involved in the Celtic game.
“The paperwork hasn’t come through yet but I have spoken to him.
“He’s delighted to be in it.”
Last Sunday, Robinson was on target with his seventh goal of the season in North End’s 2-1 win against Burton – heading them into a first-half lead.
After spending plenty of time on the bench earlier in the season, he has been a regular starter since November. He featured in 43 league games, starting 30 of those.
Robinson will have the company of four of his PNE team-mates when he joins the Republic squad.
Greg Cunningham, Alan Browne, Sean Maguire and Daryl Horgan have received call-ups.
They are all likely to stay on for the internationals against France in Paris on May 28 and the United States at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on June 2.
Maguire , Horgan and PNE player of the year Browne were in the last Ireland squad for March’s friendly with Turkey and all featured in the game.
Cunningham initially was named in that squad but an injury forced him to miss out.
While Preston’s season might be over, the Deepdale pitch will be put to good use tomorrow.
Preston Schools’ Finals will be held throughout the day, with 10 games being played.
The first game is at 9am with the last final kicking-off at 3.30pm.