FORMER DERRY City winger, Stephen McLaughlin has been tipped to make the step up to international football with the Republic of Ireland by a former English Premiership manager.
The 26 year-old Inishowen man’s manager at Southend, Phil Brown, reckons the pacy winger could be reunited with former teammate James McClean and break into Martin O’Neill’s Ireland panel.
McLaughlin has been starring for the League Two outfit this season, scoring six goals in 19 games so far this season and Brown, who managed Hull City in the Premiership, says the Isle of Doagh native ‘deserves’ to get an international call-up.
“It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if ‘Macca’ was on the radar of the Republic of Ireland squad at the moment because he certainly deserves to be as far as I’m concerned,” said Brown.
“He’s in very good form and to have already scored six goals is excellent. We haven’t had any contact with the Ireland set up but if ‘Macca’ keeps this up, then he definitely has to be in with a chance of getting a call up.”
McLaughlin, however, played down talk of a possible Ireland call, claiming competition for places in O’Neill’s squad is extremely high.
We haven’t had any contact with the Ireland set up but if ‘Macca’ keeps this up, then he definitely has to be in with a chance of getting a call up.Phil Brown
“The Ireland squad is really strong at the moment which is great to see and there are a lot of quality players around so it would be extremely difficult for anyone to get a call up, especially when you’re in League One,” he told the ‘Southend Echo’.
McLaughlin, who joined Southend on a two year deal in 2015 from Nottingham Forest, was the Shrimpers’ Player of the Month in August.
The Donegal lad made 12 appearances for Forest after signing from Derry City in 2013 and was also loaned out to Bristol City and Notts County before making nine appearances, scoring twice, for Southend at the end of the 2014/15 season.