GERRY MURPHY will be a proud man when Town striker John McAliskey makes his international debut on Tuesday.
Town's Academy Director has pushed since last year for the 20-year-old to be considered for the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad.
Dubliner Murphy always believed McAliskey would make the grade and those views were vindicated with a call-up from coach Don Givens to face Portugal in Almeida next week.
"I think John will go on to become a superb player and this call-up is just what he needed at this stage of his career," said Murphy, who also has Academy products Michael Collins and James Hand in the Under 19 squad in La Manga, Spain.
"John will be playing in a strong team - I believe he will go on from the bench for a first cap - and I'm sure we will see the benefit of it here at the club when he returns.
"John has got tremendous skill, he will not be out of place at Under 21 level and I believe that as his career progresses he will prove to be a prolific goalscorer."
Golcar-based McAliskey has been in and out of Town's squad this season but re-established himself with a run of five straight starts last month.
Givens, who watched him towards the end of last season, travelled from the Midlands to Rossendale a couple of weeks ago to make a final check when McAliskey played against Rochdale Reserves, and then gave the nod.
"John had a torrid time with a stress fracture earlier in his career," added Murphy.
"He was growing very quickly and, for a time, he lost his co-ordination and rhythm.
"One of the benefits of having a lad from a young age, though, is that you recognise this can happen, and even though he didn't play at all at Under 16 level because of the injury, we offered him a scholarship.
"We knew he had excellent ability and we had complete confidence and faith in him that he would work hard to come through.
"That's exactly what he did and, not only is he now a valuable member of the senior squad at the club, he's got international recognition as well."
Midfielder Lee Fowler is also in the Wales Under 21 squad to face Germany on Tuesday.
Last night, Wolves drew 1-1 with Sunderland in the Championship while, in League II, Norththampton drew 2-2 with Cambridge and Swansea shared the spoils 1-1 with Southend.