While Ireland have been calling out for a quality striker since the retirement of Robbie Keane, hopes are high that we could have some genuine options in the squad over the next couple of years.
Evan Ferguson is probably the most exciting of the bunch, but he is far from the only forward emerging at the minute. Michael Obafemi continues to impress with his goalscoring record at Burnley, while Troy Parrott and Adam Idah are also steadily improving in the Championship.
All of those players will come into consideration for the games against Latvia and France next month. Could another possible option be emerging?
Tom Cannon playing his way into Ireland consideration
Tom Cannon is a name that may not be all that familiar to many Ireland, with the forward earning a handful of Irish youth caps up to U20 level. A native of Merseyside, he has been part of the Everton setup for over a decade.
His goalscoring exploits at underage level are very impressive, reaching double figures on a few occasions in the U18 Premier League.
— Tom Cannon (@tomcannon_) January 8, 2023
However, his only first team experience up to this point came via a handful of late substitute appearances in the first half of this season.
Now, the 20-year old is showing what he can do at a high level.
Since joining Preston North End on loan in January, Cannon has started seven games in the Championship. He has put in some very impressive performances along the way, finally being rewarded with his first goal in the win over Wigan yesterday.
Tom Cannon’s first goal for Preston earlier!🇮🇪
A top finish with a lovely assist from Alan Browne 👏🏼☘️ pic.twitter.com/svcHvqcqmM
— Rep of Ireland Player Tracker (@reptracker) February 26, 2023
He has also struck up a partnership with Troy Parrott since the Dubliner's return from injury, something that is sure to intrigue Stephen Kenny.
Those who have watched him play in recent weeks have come away impressed.
He’s been in better form than Scott Hogan, Will Keane who you see as the maybes to be included and I don’t see why we wouldn’t call up the lad even if it’s for the experience of the camp!
— Rep of Ireland Player Tracker (@reptracker) February 25, 2023
Tom Cannon’s first touch and hold up play is as good as anyone I’ve seen. #pnefc
— Michael (@MickeyCh7) February 25, 2023
Think Tom Cannon gives you a lot of the things you want to see as a fan. Had the quality to go with his graft today; classy finish.
"Since I signed I haven't really thought about Everton. I am giving my all for Preston." 👊 #pnefc pic.twitter.com/LC0jVrjVJh
— George Hodgson (@GHodgsonSport) February 25, 2023
🗣️ Hull manager Liam Rosenior: “I thought Tom Cannon was outstanding, one of the best we've played against by far." #pnefc pic.twitter.com/IEP7rcgK52
— Tom Sandells (@TomSandells) February 19, 2023
Tom Cannon last lined out for Ireland in March of last year, featuring in a friendly for the U20 side. While a call-up to the U21 side seems more likely at this point, some strong form in the next couple of weeks could see him move into consideration for the senior squad.
The March window may come too soon for him, but he is certainly one to keep an eye on in the weeks and months ahead.