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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 25 June, 2019
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McCarthy not surprised by Premier League interest in 'very talented' Robinson

Reports suggest that the Preston North End attacker has options elsewhere as his contract runs down.

MICK McCARTHY HAS sung the praises of Callum Robinson after the Preston North End attacker showed up well in his first start under the current Republic of Ireland manager.

Robinson went close to scoring his first Ireland goal on a couple of occasions during Monday night’s 2-0 win over Gibraltar.

Callum Robinson and Joseph Chipolina Callum Robinson has a shot at goal during Monday night's win against Gibraltar in Dublin. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The 24-year-old was deployed in a right-sided attacking role, having been promoted to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in the 1-1 draw with Denmark on Friday.

The double header of Euro 2020 qualifiers marked Robinson’s first involvement during McCarthy’s tenure. Injury ruled him out of the games against Gibraltar and Georgia in March.

The Ireland boss, who was speaking yesterday at the launch of the National Football Exhibition at the University of Limerick, was clearly impressed by the former England youth international, who qualifies for Ireland via his grandmother from Monaghan.

“I think he’s a very talented player,” McCarthy said of Robinson. “He’s a great lad as well, he’s got a great personality. He’s played his way into my reckoning to be picking him in the first-team.”

Robinson has now won eight senior caps for Ireland since he was handed his debut by Martin O’Neill in a 4-1 Uefa Nations League defeat to Wales last September.

According to cross-channel reports, Robinson’s form has piqued interest from the Premier League, with his Preston contract due to expire next summer.

Mick McCarthy Mick McCarthy was at the University of Limerick yesterday. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Despite missing 19 of his club’s Championship games due to a hamstring injury, he finished the 2018-19 season as Preston’s top scorer with 13 goals in all competitions.

“I can see why there’d be Premier League interest,” said McCarthy. “He’s been injured as well, he had a bad injury. He’s certainly very quick, he can be very direct, he’s got a goal in him, he’s got two good feet and I think there’s improvement in him. He can get better.” 

Those sentiments are echoed by Sean Maguire, Robinson’s colleague for club and country, who said: “You can see his quality out on the pitch. He can make something out of nothing. Give him a bit of time and he will shine on the international stage.

“You saw glimpses of it [against Gibraltar], where he can turn defenders inside out. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.” 

Meanwhile, McCarthy says he has been keeping tabs on former Preston winger Daryl Horgan, who hasn’t been capped by Ireland since the 1-1 draw with Poland in a friendly back in September.

Hibernian v Rangers - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Easter Road Hibernian's Daryl Horgan has yet to be involved for Ireland under Mick McCarthy. Source: Jeff Holmes

Having fallen out of favour at Preston, Horgan enjoyed a positive first season in the Scottish Premiership with Hibernian, for whom he contributed seven goals and 10 assists in all competitions.

When asked to explain the omission of the 26-year-old former Dundalk star from his squad, McCarthy said: “It’s because I’ve picked other players, that’s why. When players get picked, I’m not saying the other players aren’t good players. It’s just my personal choice.

“He’s playing well, Dave Bowman [Ireland technical advisor] has watched him on a number of occasions playing for Hibs. He’s got to keep doing that. If he gets a chance then he’s got to grab it.

“It’s not a direct insult to other people when I don’t pick them. It’s not that I don’t think they’re good enough. It’s that I believe somebody is better than them.” 

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Paul Dollery

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