It would be a big ask for rumoured Newcastle United target Daryl Horgan to make the step up to English football – that’s the view of Republic of Ireland number two Roy Keane.
The Magpies sent a scout to Ireland’s 1-0 win over Austria at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna. And it’s understood the main focus of their expedition was to check out League of Ireland star Horgan.
Although despite being named on the bench, Horgan was an unused substitute in Martin O’Neill’s men’s victory.
Irish outlet RTE reported last week that Rafa Benitez’s men and Aston Villa had scouts present at the FAI Cup final, in which Horgan’s side were beaten by Cork City.
It’s understood scouts from both St James’ and rivals Sunderland were in Austria on Friday evening, as former Black Cats’ star James McClean scored the goal that took Ireland to the top of Group D.
Horgan’s inclusion has raised some eyebrows in his home country, with many, including former boss Giovanni Trapattoni, viewing the division as not at the level required to nurture an international footballer.
But that has not stopped United keeping tabs on the Dundalk winger, who has been rewarded for his impressive form in his club’s run to the Europa League group stages with a spot in O’Neill’s national setup.
Keane, never one to mince his words, has doubts whether the step from Ireland to England is too big to take.
And the ex-Manchester United man pointed to the lack of success for Richie Towell – who left Dundalk for Brighton earlier this year – as a warning to Horgan, and the clubs looking at him. “I bumped into people at the final working for English and Scottish clubs,” explained Keane.
“They ask can he step up? That’s the million-dollar question. You don’t know.
“Sometimes, there’s a big gap. It’s a big ask.
“The benefits of playing in Europe and the fitness levels will certainly help if they go across. Who’s to say they’re not happy and settled in Dundalk?
“Obviously, Richie Towell went over last year and he’s had one or two injuries and it’s not quite happened for him.
“So it’s not all this fantasy that you go over and everything falls into place. But I’m sure he’ll have good options.”