I want to be the main man for McCarthy: Maguire
He's on a high at club level after a vital goal helped Preston stay very much in the race for promotion to the Premier League.
And Sean Maguire says he wants to use the Euro 2020 campaign, which starts next weekend in Gibraltar, to show he can be the main man up front at international level.
Maguire has had a stop-start Ireland career since he made his debut against Moldova 18 months ago, just four caps and no goals as injury has disrupted his progress.
Mick McCarthy is a big fan of the Kilkenny lad, admitting that he wanted to bring Maguire to Ipswich Town when Maguire was on form with Cork City but the Portman Road club could not afford the striker, who eventually signed for Preston.
The 24-year-old scored his third goal in eight games for Preston on Saturday, a late effort but the only goal of the game at home to Birmingham City as the win boosts their promotion hopes.
Maguire is frustrated by how things have gone with Ireland but with a clean slate under a new boss, he wants to be the first choice striker.
"I hope this is my chance to get into the team from the start. I sense there is an opportunity there for me to take it and not let anyone take it off me," Maguire told The Herald.
"But it us up to me, we have two big games on the way, Gibraltar and Georgia, two games we are expected to win and these are the games we should be winning.
"It's a fresh start, there is no better way to prove yourself than on the competitive international stage, so I need to take that chance."
McCarthy has spoken positively of Maguire while the player says he has been encouraged by the numerous scouting trips to Deepdale.
"I have spoken to Mick a few times and he has been to a couple of our games, either Mick or Terry Connor comes to Preston a fair bit, so that's good to see," Maguire added.
"It's great for players knowing the international manager is watching you and you hope that puts you into his mind going forward.
"I am getting back to my best and when the chance arises, I have to try and take it, whether that's in the starting XI or off the bench I have to take my chances, it's a fresh start with a new manager coming in and a chance for me to stake my claim."
Maguire missed the start of the season with his club after sustaining an injury in pre-season and he broke down again, with a hamstring complaint, in November, causing him to miss Martin O'Neill's last game. But with a run of games behind him for a Preston side unbeaten in 2019, he says he's close to peak form, summed up by that weekend winner against Birmingham.