MX23RW : Tuesday, October 16 23:01:28

Hogan and Maguire up for daunting challenge of filling void left by Robbie Keane

The former Ireland captain scored 68 goals in 146 appearances.

Scott Hogan and Sean Maguire are desperate for a chance to prove they can fill Robbie Keane’s sizeable boots.

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has repeatedly bemoaned the fact that he inherited Keane, who scored 68 international goals in 146 appearances for his country, as a 33-year-old when he took the job in November 2013.

Jonathan Walters and James McClean have come closest to restoring a measure of the firepower the former Wolves, Coventry, Inter Milan, Leeds, Tottenham and Liverpool marksman once supplied since he ended his Republic career in 2016, although Walters is now injured and McClean is a winger by trade.

With Shane Long’s goals having largely dried up and Aiden O’Brien’s international career in its infancy, Aston Villa’s Hogan and Preston’s Maguire are relishing an admittedly daunting challenge.

Hogan, who is yet to play for club or country this season because of a groin injury, said: “It’s difficult, obviously. When someone scores that many goals, it’s a hard act to follow.

“You’ve just got to do what you can, believe in what you’re good at. You’ve just to concentrate on yourself.

“What’s gone is gone. He is a hard act to follow – maybe impossible to follow – but you just have to take each game as it comes and hopefully get halfway near the level someone sets.”

Maguire, who made his first start for Ireland alongside debutant Hogan in Turkey in March, is equally realistic about the task, but also excited about the prospect of taking it on in Saturday’s Nations League clash with Denmark and the game against Wales which follows it.

He said: “We haven’t had that goalscorer since Robbie Keane left. I don’t think we will ever fully replace him, given the number of goals he has scored for his country.

“I feel there is an opportunity for one of the four new lads coming in to stake a claim for a jersey.

“If I get the opportunity, hopefully I do step up to the plate and play a crucial part, if that’s coming off the bench or from the start of the game. We’ll see what happens.”

Sean Maguire in action for the Republic of Ireland in Turkey
Sean Maguire in action for the Republic of Ireland in Turkey (Tim Goode/PA)

Both men have been severely hampered by injury in recent months – Maguire is just a game into his comeback from a second serious hamstring problem – and whether or not O’Neill is prepared to risk either remains to be seen.

In truth, his options are limited: Long, his most senior striker, has not scored for Ireland since October 2016 and has only seven Southampton goals to his name in the meantime, while Hogan, Maguire, O’Brien and Callum Robinson have little experience at international level.

Asked about Long, O’Neill said: “In truth, we don’t have anyone who has proved themselves to be a prolific scorer, so it is a difficult one.

“Shane is not that – he hasn’t scored at club level now for quite some considerable time and of course that plays with your mind.

On This Day in 2015

Two years ago today, Shane Long scored this famous goal as Ireland beat the world champions! 🇮🇪 #COYBIG

Posted by FAIreland on Sunday, October 8, 2017

“But you have to be very, very strong and think then the next chance that comes along, ‘This is the one that I’m going to take’.”

Share this article now:

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
2Chelsea86201851320
3Liverpool86201531220
4Arsenal86021910918
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
6Bournemouth85121612416
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
9Watford84131112-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Burnley82241012-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
16Southampton8125614-85
17Fulham8125921-125
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account