Preston’s Sean Maguire insists first Ireland goal is ‘long overdue’

Sean Maguire claims getting off the mark with the Republic of Ireland is “long overdue” ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Georgia and Switzerland.

The 25-year-old is Preston’s second top goalscorer this season, with three goals and three assists. Only teammate Daniel Johnson has more goals (five).

Maguire hasn’t been able to break his duck during a two-year spell in Ireland’s senior side, having made six appearances since his debut in October 2017 under former manager Martin O’Neill.

Two of Maguire’s three goals this season have come at Deepdale.

But North End’s Irish star is adamant he won’t have a better chance to get off the mark in Ireland’s upcoming games.

He said: “I think it’s long overdue. I’ve had six caps now – two starts – it’s a dream of mine to score for my country, obviously. It hasn’t happened yet but I’d like to see it happen sooner rather than later.

“There’s probably no better time to do it than these next couple of games.

“It’s always a real honour for even getting called up and getting that recognition, playing for Preston and getting called up for my country.

“We’ve got two big games coming up so hopefully, as I mentioned, I can get my first goal.”

Maguire’s Ireland can qualify for Euro 2020 if they pick up six points over the next fortnight.

Manager Mick McCarthy has plenty of attacking options to pick from after Aaron Connolly’s call-up to the senior squad for the first time.

With one eye already on the European Championships next summer, Maguire insists Ireland’s next generation of strikers are giving him the motivation to keep improving and cement his place in Ireland’s squad.

Maguire said: “We’ve got huge talent around the country at the moment, especially in the Under-21s.

“The likes of Troy Parrott (Tottenham), Adam Idah (Norwich) and Aaron Connolly (Brighton), these are players that are getting into Premier League squads and it’s great to see.

“It pushes me as well. I know I’m four or five years older than these guys but it pushes me to try to do better for Preston and to keep my name in the Ireland squad.”

Next summer’s European Championships will be the first time ever that the major tournament in being held without a dedicated host nation(s).

Euro 2020 will be held in a dozen different countries and Maguire is already dreaming of playing for Ireland in a major tournament at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

He added: “Our focus is to qualify for the European Championships.

“Next summer is the first time that it’s going to scatter around 12 countries, so we have the chance of playing in the Euros in Dublin which would be a special moment for everyone involved.”