Preston striker’s Euro dream: Sean Maguire hoping to feature for his country in qualifiers

Preston North End's Sean Maguire
Preston North End's Sean Maguire

Preston striker Sean Maguire could be on the cusp of realising a boyhood dream – qualifying for a major international tournament.

The North End forward is part of the Republic of Ireland squad which faces two crucial Euro 2020 qualifiers in four days.

This afternoon, the Irish take on Georgia in Tbilisi before going head to head with Switzerland on Tuesday in Geneva.

Maguire and his countrymen currently top Group D having accumulated 11 points from their first five games.

Denmark lie in second two points further back, while Switzerland are third with eight points having played a game less.

The Danes host the Swiss this evening in Copenhagen and the next few days could very well be the defining moment in Ireland’s qualification bid.

“I think come a week’s time, we could have qualified for the European Championships next year,” said Maguire, who has four full caps to his name.

“It’s going to be difficult, though.

“Georgia drew against Denmark in the last round of fixtures and they are always difficult to play against out there. It’s a hostile environment.

“Then we have Switzerland away but we are more than capable of coming up with a big performance in a big game.

“Hopefully I can contribute to the cause and help the country reach the Euros.

“The dream as a boy is to play for your country, score for your country and qualify for a major tournament.

“I have been lucky enough to be involved in the last few squads. I would have liked to have had more caps, but injuries have played their part.”

Next summer’s championships will be different to previous tournaments as games will be held at 12 different cities across Europe rather than being confined to one country.

One of the designated venues is the Aviva Stadium in Dublin and Maguire said: “It’s obviously going to be a bit different to previous Euros so it will be a dream come true to play a game in the Euros in my home country in front of a home crowd.”

Maguire could be in line to feature this afternoon after an impressive start to the season for Preston.

He said: “This is my third year at Preston and we have been there or thereabouts 
– we finished seventh in the first season and were up 
there last year before tailing off.

“I’m really optimistic about this year.

“We have been very consistent at home – we haven’t lost at Deepdale.

“Our away form has picked up a level. So far, so good but it is early days yet.”