Niall dis­cusses John Egan

By in Niall Quinn's Route One

For the second time this sea­son I ran into John Egan on a Sat­urday morn­ing as he was head­ing off to play for Brent­ford. First time we bumped into each other he scored two goals that after­noon. On Sat­urday Brent­ford won five nil. I am avail­able to hang around hotel lob­bies of wealth­ier clubs who are in need of a lucky charm. Call me “Jose”. You never know. I could be what United need.

Next time I talk to John I will have to quiz him a little bit on the Scott Hogan busi­ness. With both John Egan and Alan Judge at Brent­ford look­ing like future Irish inter­na­tion­als, Scott Hogan could just tip the scales in mak­ing Brent­ford a club for Irish fans to fol­low.

What little I know about Hogan I like. The path to where he is now hasn’t been easy, there is a bit of the Jamie Vardy about him. He worked in the real world for a long time hav­ing been dropped by Roch­dale as a young lad. He played foot­ball in a lot of unfash­ion­able non-league places before becom­ing the “Paul Pogba of Roch­dale” and being signed again three years after being let go. He scored nine­teen goals in his first sea­son and got sold on to Brent­ford for £750,000.

Things didn’t get any easier. He did his anterior cru­ci­ate on his league debut and then did it again almost straight away when he returned to train­ing. He only got back to play­ing at the back end of last sea­son but for a player who had missed so much he hit the ground run­ning and scored seven goals in the last seven games. He has kept that momentum up. His hat trick on Sat­urday means he has now scored thir­teen goals in six­teen league games for Brent­ford. All that and he’s still only twenty-four.

He’s quick, hard work­ing and con­fid­ent. He was born in Salford but more import­antly he has Irish grand­par­ents. As a player, the impres­sion I have of him is that he has “Shane Long type pace” with “John Ald­ridge fin­ish­ing”.

It is said Roy Keane went to see him play last spring. I’m not sure if any pres­sure was put on the lad but noth­ing came of it in terms of the Euros. Hogan was quoted as say­ing after­wards that he was keep­ing his head down and sens­ibly try­ing to develop a career with Brent­ford. He wasn’t wor­ry­ing too much yet about inter­na­tional foot­ball. He did add some­thing prom­ising though “If Roy Keane rang me up”, he said, “I couldn’t say no to Roy Keane. He is one of my her­oes.”

Now I’ve never been sweet-talked by Roy so I can’t say how seduct­ive he might be it but at this point do we have any­thing to lose by the mak­ing of that call? One of the things that Roy brings to the job is his repu­ta­tion in the world of foot­ball. If we have a highly prom­ising striker who is eli­gible to play for us in a pos­i­tion where we could use re-enforce­ment and he may go weak at the knees if Roy calls, get it done!

And if he ever hits a slump after he declares for us he will know exactly where to find me in the lobby of the Brent­ford hotel. If Roy can turn his hand to seduc­tion, I can live with being a lucky rabbit’s foot for Scott Hogan’s con­quests.