Alan Browne's rise catches eye of former PNE winger Kevin Kilbane

Former Deepdale favourite Kevin Kilbane believes Alan Browne can be Preston North End's 'powerhouse'.

Monday, 4th June 2018, 7:00 am
Kevin Kilbane during his Preston North End days

The 23-year-old starred for Alex Neil’s side during the 2017-18 campaign, winning a hat-trick of gongs at the club’s end of season awards.

BBC pundit Kilbane, who played 110 times for the Republic of Ireland, has liked what he has seen from the midfielder who has been on international duty since the conclusion of the domestic fixtures.

“He has great promise,” said Kilbane, who started his career with hometown club Preston. “He broke into the Preston side very quickly when he was only young.

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“In his first few seasons it looked like he was developing into a holding midfielder but he has adapted his game over the last few months to play as a more attacking midfielder.He has shown he can get into goalscoring positions and his scoring record was good this season.

“I think he can play in any of the midfield positions, which is testament to him.

“He is a powerhouse midfielder, he works hard and has energy.”

An Ireland great in his playing days, Kilbane is pleased to see that Browne has risen through the age groups before representing O’Neill’s side.

The former Cork City youngster had made 11 appearances and scored three goals for the Under-21s before making his senior debut against Mexico last June.

His most recent appearance came in the defeat to France in Paris last Monday night.

Browne and PNE team mate Greg Cunningham were unused substitutes in Ireland’s 2-1 win over the USA on Saturday night, as Daryl Horgan played the final half an hour.

“I’ve seen him play for a few years at Preston and a number of times for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s when he was coming through,” said Kilbane.

“It’s good that he has come through the Under-21s route to the full international squad because not too many have consistently done that of late.

“Probably Burnley winger Robbie Brady was the last one to play a lot of Under-21s games and then progress to full internationals.

“A lot of Irish players have come from the League of Ireland, gone on to play well at club level in England, and got recognised that way.”

Preston’s Irish contingent could be set to grow further with North End being linked with a move for Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to Lilywhites owner Trevor Hemmings, was present at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to see the 24-year-old net his first international goal in the victory over the USA.