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Hoban hopes impressive Aberdeen form can put him back in Ireland contention

The former Republic of Ireland U21 captain is excelling after returning from a long-term knee injury.

An Ireland call-up remains an aim for Tommie Hoban (file pic).
An Ireland call-up remains an aim for Tommie Hoban (file pic).
Image: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

A FIRST REPUBLIC of Ireland senior cap is still an ambition for Tommie Hoban, who has been in impressive form for Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership.

Hoban has made 11 appearances in all competitions this season, having returned from an 18-month absence caused by a knee injury.

The centre-back scored in last weekend’s 4-2 win over Hamilton Academical, which moved Aberdeen up to third, three points behind second-placed Celtic.

Hoban, who’s now 26, represented Ireland at U21 level, captaining a side that included current senior internationals like Jack Byrne, Callum O’Dowda, Sean Maguire, Alan Browne, Josh Cullen and Darragh Lenihan.

During his tenure as senior manager, Martin O’Neill spoke highly of Hoban and watched him in action for Watford on multiple occasions. However, a series of injuries ultimately prevented that from becoming a reality. 

The London-born defender, whose mother is from Dublin, addressed his potential future at international level ahead of Aberdeen’s home game against Celtic on Sunday.

He told the Evening Express: “It’s definitely an ambition. I sound English, but my family is very much Irish. I see myself as Irish really as much as I do English.

“If the opportunity came to play for [Ireland] again, which is definitely one of my goals, then I’ll 100% be ready to take it. If I can start racking up the games for Aberdeen and get 30 or 40 games this year, hopefully I’ll get myself back in the picture with Ireland.”

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Hoban’s professional career, which has been ravaged by injuries, began when he made his debut for Watford in the Championship at the age of 17.

He was released by the Hornets in the summer of 2019 when his contract expired while he was in the process of rehabilitating his latest injury.

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes, who handed him a contract until the end of this season, said last week that he’d be keen to extend that deal should Hoban encounter no further setbacks.

“Having spoken to Tommie, I think he is grateful for the club for standing by him and giving him the opportunity to finish his rehab here to get back to training and playing games,” McInnes said.

“In his short time here he has done particularly well for us. He has become a very important player for us very quickly and we knew he would be. When we signed him a couple of years ago (on loan from Watford), the intention was for him to be a key player.

“Injuries took over and he has dealt with that brilliantly. We are confident that he is finding a bit of rhythm and he has pattern to his training through the week. That is playing out on a match-day.

“Ideally we could be sitting in a few months’ time talking about an extended contract for Tommie.”

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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