Tractor Boy Keane catches Mick's eye
Mick McCarthy has tipped his hat to potential Ireland recruit Will Keane after a spying mission allowed the Irish boss see the forward score a vital goal for his club.
And Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert has also praised Keane (26), claiming that the player is starting to show the early talent he showed while on Manchester United's books.
McCarthy, assistant Terry Connor and coach Robbie Keane were in Ireland, scouting SSE Airtricity League talent on Friday night but on Saturday McCarthy was at his old club, Ipswich, to see Keane and James McClean trade goals in a 1-1 draw.
Will Keane has never played for Ireland at any level, unlike his twin brother Michael who won U17 caps for the Republic before a switch to England.
But Will, capped at youth and U21 levels by England, has started the process with FIFA to end his association with England and declare for Ireland and McCarthy saw him find the net at the weekend.
"Will took his goal well at a time when Ipswich really needed it so his timing was good all round," McCarthy told the FAI website.
"I was impressed again with Alan Judge as well. Alan was very unfortunate with the injury he picked up when playing at Ipswich with Brentford and I am delighted to see him back to his best.
"The fact that James McClean scored the opening goal of the game for Stoke was a bonus as well."
Ipswich boss Lambert also hailed Keane, on loan from Hull City.
"Do you know what, I think he's back to his Man United days. His hold-up play is fantastic. When I first saw Will coming through I thought he was an absolute handful. When I saw him at Preston on loan I thought he was excellent. Then he got his injury," Lambert said.
He hailed Dubliner Judge as "outstanding" but admits the club, struggling at the foot of the Championship table, will find it hard to retain talents like that.
"You would love to. But the pound coin comes into play. You can't go and match a lot of wages, which is the reality of it. You have to try and see what's possible. Money, finances do dictate a big part of the game though," he said.