Premier League massive step up for me: Maguire
IT'S not quite mission impossible, but for a young Irish lad to make it into the first team of a Premier League club is not that far off.
It's still the dream for former Waterford United lad Sean Maguire to make the grade in England's top flight at West Ham United and until he is told otherwise he will keep working and hoping.
"It's only when you get over here and try, that you see just how hard it is," says Maguire (pictured), who joined West Ham from Waterford earlier this year and is currently learning his trade in the Hammers' U21 and development team.
"I have faith and believe in myself and I feel that I have the ability to play in the Premier League. But these days to make it in the Premier League you need to be exceptionally good, even to get your debut, let alone play a string of games for the team.
"I think in the past, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, clubs would sometimes take a chance and throw in a young lad here and there, so a young Irish lad who was at the club would at least have a chance of getting a game.
"With so much at stake in the Premier League now, very few managers will throw in a 19-year-old unless he is absolutely top class. In my case here, we have Andy Carroll as our lead striker, but if he gets injured you can't really see the manager throwing in a 19-year-old. It's very hard at a club like this, but that's the case across the Premier League, so as a player you have to try your best," adds Maguire, who was pleased to see his former Waterford team-mate Jack Doherty also earn a move to England recently, Doherty already making an impression under Mick McCarthy at Ipswich.
While other League of Ireland exports were able to seamlessly slot into the scene at top clubs abroad, with James McClean and Keith Fahey going straight into the first team at Sunderland and Birmingham City respectively, Maguire was deemed to be in need of more development as he had been playing in the First Division here for Waterford.
"It was a massive step up when I came over," says Maguire. "Physically and mentally it's a huge leap. Maybe it was harder for me as I hadn't been playing in the Premier Division back home, but the gap is very big."
So what's the outlook for Maguire? A loan spell away from Upton Park is most likely as he switches training sessions between the senior team and the development squad.
"I feel that if I can keep doing what I am doing, something will happen for me," he says.
"I am in good form at the moment so I'll see what happens in terms of a loan.
"When I was at Waterford United I was playing for the first team, so I had a taste for first-team football and I want to have that again.
"A loan move is probably the next for me. Before the end of last season they said that four or five of us would go on loan."