Conor Hourihane is not taking Ireland starting spot for granted

8 October 2019

Conor Hourihane is refusing to accept that he is a Republic of Ireland regular as he attempts to cement his place for the crucial Euro 2020 qualifier double-header against Georgia and Switzerland.

The 28-year-old Aston Villa midfielder has started all five competitive games of manager Mick McCarthy’s reign to date, one of nine men to have done so, but having suffered disappointments earlier in his career, is in no mood to take anything for granted.

Sitting alongside Preston counterpart Alan Browne, who impressed in last month’s friendly victory over Bulgaria, Hourihane was asked what it meant to him to be one of the first names on McCarthy’s teamsheet.

Conor Hourihane (centre) is relishing his Premier League return (Bradley Collyer/PA)

He said: “That’s definitely not my mindset, that’s for sure. I don’t see myself as one of the first names on the teamsheet. If you become complacent, that’s when someone pushes you out of the way.

“People like Browney did fantastically in the game against Bulgaria and he’ll be pushing me for my place, so I know I need to be on top of my game to be on the teamsheet come Saturday.

“I’ll be working this week like I’m fighting for my place, like it’s one of my first caps, and hopefully be selected for the weekend.”

Hourihane’s caution is founded on his experiences during a career to date which has seen him released as a teenager by Sunderland and then Ipswich a year later before rebooting in League Two with Plymouth.

Contact Form