While David McGoldrick has acquitted himself very well over the opening four Euro 2020 qualifiers, Scott Hogan was also given the chance to impress Mick McCarthy during last night's game against Gibraltar.
It would have seemed like the perfect opportunity to grab a first international goal for the player, coming against a side who are 166 places below Ireland in the FIFA world rankings. Things did not work out that way.
While the team performed poorly as a whole, it was not a good game for Hogan. His movement was lacking, and he was caught offside far too often the occasions he did run in behind. While he could have scored just before he was withdrawn with 25 minutes to go, he could not have argued with his removal.
Indeed, he looked like a player that was lacking sharpness. That is not surprising, considering the lack of playing time Hogan has received over the past 12 months.
Injuries hampered his progress at Aston Villa, while he was a bit part player at best during his six month loan spell at Sheffield United. Speaking to RTÉ Sport after the game, he confirmed that the manager told him he needed to get some regular playing time.
"The manager pulled me over at the end for a couple of minutes and said 'I love everything about you but you have to go and play games'."@ScottHogan_9 was pondering his @Avfcofficial future in the aftermath of last night's game. @corktod #rtesoccer pic.twitter.com/uQl6sGtXV6
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 11, 2019
The boss likes me, he's been really impressed with me since I came in. I've not played a lot of games, I think that's my first game in about six weeks since the end of the season. I only played seven or eight games, which I don't like.
I've got to get going, and I've got to think about my future really. The manager pulled me over for a couple of minutes and he just said 'I love everything about you, but you've got to go and play games'.
It's up to me now to knuckle down and play games, wherever it may be...
The important thing is that I can get 40 games under my belt. I'm confident that if I can get 40 games that I'm going to get 20 or 25 goals.
I just want a run of games in the team, the only run I did get at Villa I got goals.
Hogan was a bit off the pace last night, and with McCarthy likely to only play one up front in the tougher remaining games, he will have a battle on his hands to keep his starting place.
Still, a fast start to next season would certainly do his chances no harm. He is unlikely to get much time at Aston Villa, while loan club Sheffield United will probably look to sign a more established Premier League striker after their return to the English top flight.
A move to the Championship seems likely at the minute. He did have the best spell of his career under current Villa boss Dean Smith at Brentford, however, meaning he should be given the chance to impress in pre-season.