Roy Keane says Sean Maguire was unlucky to miss out on the final Republic of Ireland squad for the next two World Cup qualifiers.
he Preston striker received his first senior call-up when he was named as part of Martin O’Neill’s provisional 39-man party for the games against Georgia on September 2 and Serbia on September 5.
Maguire, however, missed the cut down to 25 on Monday, with team-mate Alan Browne also amongst the unfortunate players.
Daryl Horgan is the last Lilywhites player standing with the squad heading to Tbilisi on Thursday for the Georgia clash.
“Sean Maguire was probably unlucky to miss out,” Ireland assistant manager Keane said.
“He needs to get his head down and score some goals at Preston.”
All those who were ultimately left behind are on standby however and Keane added: “Don’t rule out him getting involved before next week.”
Maguire has made no secret of his desire to play for his country having represented Ireland at Under-19s and Under-21s level.
The 23-year-old has started of three of North End’s Championship games so far this season, impressing in a role just behind Jordan Hugill.
“Every young kid’s dream is to play for their country at the highest level,” said Maguire.
“It’s something I’ve dreamt of from being four or five years of age when I first started playing football.
“If I do get the chance to put on that jersey, I’ll relish it.”
Having scored 20 goals for Cork City in 2017 before swapping the League of Ireland leaders for Deepdale, his move to the Championship has seemingly helped his international cause.
“People don’t think the League of I reland is that great a standard to get you into the international set-up,” Maguire said.
“Coming over here has helped that, as has getting straight into the team at Preston.
“I’ve had a decent enough start.
“The goals haven’t come but I’m still very confident they will.”
Just the two PNE players will be on international, Horgan with Ireland and Arsenal loanee Stephy Mavididi with England’s Under-20s.
The young Three Lions face the Netherlands at Telford on Thursday night and then travel to face Switzerland four days later.