Alan Browne is confident there is more to come from him at international level as he attempts to belatedly kick-start his Republic of Ireland career.
The 24-year-old Preston midfielder made his senior debut as a substitute in a 3-1 friendly defeat by Mexico in New Jersey in June 2017, but has managed only two appearances since – he also finished up on the losing side against France and Turkey – with injuries having blighted his chances of establishing himself.
All of his caps to date came under Martin O’Neill and it is a source of frustration that another fitness issue prevented him from impressing new boss Mick McCarthy when the squad met up for March’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia.
However, he joined up for this week’s training camp in Portugal fit and in form having scored 12 goals for his club last season, and he is desperate for a chance to prove his worth ahead of next Friday’s qualifier trip to Denmark and Gibraltar’s visit to the Aviva Stadium three days later.
Browne said: “I don’t think that my time at international level has been great so far. Obviously we had tough tests and came up short in them.
“Since then, I have struggled with injuries that have come at the wrong time. When the international breaks come, I seem to always get injured and they come at the wrong time.
“I’m happy to be here and happy to have got fit over the last couple of weeks so I’m raring to go now.
“When a new manager comes in anywhere, you sort of have to prove yourself again and I’m sure that the boys are well aware of that.
“It was frustrating to miss the last camp because the lads have made their first impressions. We have two weeks to put in the work and I’ll be looking to do that and hopefully get myself into the first XI.”
If last season proved disappointing for Preston – they had targeted a Sky Bet Championship play-off place, but ultimately finished 14th – it was a positive one for Browne, who revelled in a more advanced role and was rewarded with goals.
Asked if that is a role he can fill for Ireland, he replied: “Hopefully, yes. First and foremost, I just want to get myself into the team and after that, we will go from there. If the gaffer wants me to play there, then I am happy to play there.
“It’s the same at my club, where I have played in a lot of different positions. I know myself that I can adapt and adapting at international level is another step up again. Hopefully I am ready for that.
“I wouldn’t associate myself with that position, but that’s where I found myself. I’m enjoying my football and playing really well.”