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'I'm honest – when I've pulled on the green jersey I haven't done anything'

Ireland striker Scott Hogan is determined to show that he’s capable of scoring goals at international level.

Scott Hogan reacts with frustration after a missed chance in Ireland's game against Gibraltar last June.
Scott Hogan reacts with frustration after a missed chance in Ireland's game against Gibraltar last June.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SCOTT HOGAN HAS offered a candid assessment of his international career to date, admitting that his performances for the Republic of Ireland haven’t matched his expectations.

In his eight appearances – five of which came as a substitute – since debuting against Turkey in March 2018, Hogan has yet to find the net for the Boys in Green.

The Aston Villa striker’s bid to make an impact on the international stage wasn’t aided by his difficulties at club level, with loan moves at Sheffield United and Stoke City proving relatively fruitless.

However, the 28-year-old has been revitalised by a temporary switch to Birmingham City. He scored seven goals in eight games, winning the Championship Player of the Month award for February, before the season was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In reference to my international career, if I’m allowed to swear I would swear, because it hasn’t gone well at all,” the Salford-born forward said in an interview for BoyleSports.

“It has been difficult without regular game-time, but I’m honest – when I’ve pulled on the green jersey I haven’t done anything. I understand that and I know that. I think that’s the thing that hurts me a lot every day at the moment, that I haven’t done anything to warrant playing for the national team.”

Hogan, who was given his debut by Martin O’Neill and featured five times under Mick McCarthy, is encouraged by Stephen Kenny’s appointment as manager.

The former Dundalk and Ireland U21 boss will lead the national team into their European Championship play-off against Slovakia, which is expected to be rescheduled for October.

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birmingham-city-v-brentford-sky-bet-championship-st-andrews-trillion-trophy-stadium Hogan hit the ground running at Birmingham City. Source: PA

Hogan was impressed by Kenny during a recent conversation, and believes he can thrive under a manager who’s known to favour a possession-based style of attacking play.

“Two or three weeks ago I had a Zoom call with him and he introduced himself,” he said of the 48-year-old Dubliner. “He seems like a really, really nice man, someone who really wants to take the national team to another level and try things to sort of recreate the brand of the national team. He sounded full of enthusiasm.

“One of the good things was that he just wanted to ask about myself, what has gone on and things like that. He wanted to talk to me about what he feels I do. He has seen me in certain things and he told me he’s going to be watching a lot of games over this quarantine to see what fits.

“Obviously I’m aware of what he’s done with Dundalk and more so with the U21s, because there are a lot more younger lads coming up to the senior squad. And they’re not just coming up, they’re starting, they’re making appearances and they’re standing out as quality players. That stems from some of the work he’s done with them on the training pitch.

“I think it’s an exciting time and an exciting future for the national team. We’ve got two big years coming up, where possibly we can get to the Euros and World Cup within two years of each other. It’s exciting and hopefully, God willing, we can do that.”

Of his own prospects of featuring under Kenny, Hogan said: “I’ve got to prove to the new coaching staff that I can play as a striker at international level for this country. That’s the first thing I’ve got to do.

“There’s going to be a lot of people who won’t agree with that because of what’s happened in the past – that’s fine, let them think that – but if I can prove it to them and with the way they want to do things, I think I could fit in well with how they want to go about their football.

“It’s down to me. It would be a dream to qualify for the Euros and qualify for the World Cup with the national team.” 

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Paul Dollery

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