TWO of Alan Browne’s biggest allies Cork City underage manager Paul Bowdren and Ringmahon Rangers’ chairman Conor Brett could see the potential in the Ringmahon teenager from a long way off.Bowdren and Ringmahon Rangers’ chairman Conor Brett could see the potential in the Ringmahon teenager from a long way off.
And neither football man is in the least bit surprised to see the uncapped, 22 year-old ‘Brownie’ called up to the Irish senior squad for friendlies against Mexico in New Jersey on June 1, against Uruguay in Dublin on Sunday, June 4 and for our World Cup qualifier with Austria at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, June 11.
The former Cork City U19 player and Preston midfielder was invited to train with Martin O’Neill’s squad last year but was forced to decline because of injury.
“Alan Browne is destined to play international football for Ireland and he has all the attributes to do so. He’s a natural footballer, two great feet and excellent control and balance. He’s an eye for goal as a midfield player and he has a knack for finding time and space for himself,” said Paul Bowdren.Bowdren.
“I am not in the least bit surprised to see him get the call-up and we need one for Seanie Maguire as well.Seanie Maguire as well.
‘Brownie’ is a quiet lad, no frills or airs and graces and he’d just do his work, listen and learn but I have to say that he got a good grounding at Ringmahon Rangers and through his mother, Mary helped run the Academy for Rangers. She has to take the credit for this too,” he told me.airs and graces and he’d just do his work, listen and learn but I have to say that he got a good grounding at Ringmahon Rangers and through his mother, Mary helped run the Academy for Rangers. She has to take the credit for this too,” he told me.
Browne who has been capped 11 times at U21 level has been a regular at Deepdale for Championship side, Preston North End and manager Simon Grayson.End and manager Simon Grayson.
“He has been self-driven to be a professional footballer for years and he’s great awareness on the pitch and he’s technically and tactically very good. We could see the potential in him from the moment he walked in the door at Bishopstown and obviously Ringmahon saw it years earlier.
“He came to our attention late on at 16 or 17 and he played for our U19s as a 17-year-old but it was nothing new to Alan to play with older players.
He had made a name for himself in schoolboy and youths football with Ringmahon and then Stuart Ashton and myself asked him out to Cork City and he was two years underage when he played with our 19s,” explained Bowdren.Bowdren.
Young Browne played in virtually every position bar goalkeeper but if he’d been asked to fill in between the sticks, he’d probably have jumped at the chance!
“Alan was a versatile type of player with a great understanding of the game from a young age and he’d shine in any position. He was comfortable in any role,” added Bowdren whose U17s are at home to Bray Wanderers at Bishopstown on Saturday (2pm).
Ringmahon’s Conor Brett said that it was a great honour and great recognition for the Mahon-based club to see his good friend Browne called into the national squad.
“We had Alan as a four-year-old on our Academy with Ger Mullins and he played in the seven-a-side U8 Southside Leagues at the time as a four-year-old! We developed and coaxed him right the way up to U16 and then he had a year and four months at Cork City before moving to Trevor Hemmings’ Preston North End.
“Preston watched him first play for Ireland U18s down at the RSC in Waterford and they were immediately taken with him."
Browne, who turned 22 on April 15, had that self-determination and skill from the very start.
"He also had that burning desire and ambition, a bit like Roy Keane I suppose, to make it as a cross-channel footballer. He was definitely moving in the right direction when he won the FAI U19 Player of the Year award as an 18-year-old,” said Brett.
And the final word goes to the man himself.
“I’ve enjoyed the U21s but hopefully I can push on now and aim for the first team. It’s a long-term goal of mine to break into the Ireland squad. Playing every week for Preston is my main ambition and I think that’s what Roy and Martin will be looking for.
They’ll want someone to be playing week in, week out and to be playing at a high standard such as the Championship and that’s good for me as such a young age,” said Browne who is with the Irish squad at Fota Island Resort this week.