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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

'I’d love to be more advanced and scoring goals, but wherever he puts me, I’m happy'

Alan Browne helped Ireland claim a deserved win over New Zealand last night.

Alan Browne played the first 65 minutes of Ireland's match with New Zealand last night.
Alan Browne played the first 65 minutes of Ireland's match with New Zealand last night.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

ALAN BROWNE SAYS he is not overly fussed where he plays after being deployed in a different role with Preston this season.

The Cork native has been one of the most effective attacking midfielders in the Championship in recent years. In terms of goals scored, he has finished with double figures in the last two seasons.

Yet the 24-year-old has found the net just once in 20 club appearances this season, but it is partially due to manager Alex Neil playing him in a less advanced area.

“Alan does what he does, he hits the box well in that ‘running 10′ position,” Neil said recently.

“This season we haven’t played him up there many times because of Daniel Johnson’s performances and how well he has done.

“If DJ is the No.10, generally we play with a running nine rather than a big target man.

“When Alan plays it suits us to play a target man, with him and Jayden Stockley complementing each other really well.”

Browne himself acknowledges that he prefers the advanced midfield role, but is more than happy to do a job elsewhere.

With Preston currently second in the Championship amid an excellent start to the season, the team have certainly not been overtly harmed by this positional switch.

“We’ve been winning games, so I don’t really mind,” Browne explains. “Obviously, I’d love to be more advanced and scoring goals, but wherever he puts me, I’m happy to play and as long as the team’s doing well, I can’t have any complaints.

You just have to play where you’re played. It can be a good thing to be versatile and be able to play different positions. But at the same time, I want to be playing in the one position. That’s where I see my career going forward. So hopefully I can make the spot in the advanced role in the coming weeks.”

Whether Browne plays in any capacity against Denmark on Monday night remains to be seen. While a number of players are nailed on to start, the identify of one of the central midfielders is less than clear cut, as the Preston star competes with Conor Hourihane for a place in the side.

Browne is hopeful he did enough in 65 minutes against New Zealand to convince McCarthy he warrants a starting spot for Ireland’s most important match since they were humbled 5-1 by the Danes in a World Cup play-off exactly two years to the day from the New Zealand win.

While not many fans and pundits are optimistic the Boys in Green can secure the victory needed to seal qualification for Euro 2020, Browne is determined to prove the doubters wrong.

“I think you have to be confident. There’s no point going into it being set up defensively or anything. We have to win the game against them and you have to believe, because if you don’t have the belief, there’s no point going out to play. So I’m definitely confident and I know the lads are as well.”

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Paul Fennessy

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