Sean Maguire played a leading role in the Republic of Ireland's win over New Zealand and hopes to be involved against Denmark on Monday.
Sean Maguire staked a claim to be involved in the Republic of Ireland's biggest game for two years by scoring and starring in the friendly win over New Zealand.
Preston North End forward Maguire struck the hosts' second in a 3-1 victory against the All Whites in Dublin, with his first international goal a 20-yard sizzler into the top right corner.
Maguire could have had more goals and created a string of chances for others on Thursday, earning man-of-the-match honours as Ireland came from behind to post a persuasive win.
Ireland's team that faces Denmark in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday, however, is sure to show significant changes, given manager Mick McCarthy chose not to risk several key players against New Zealand.
Maguire may still have a role to play, and should he be involved then he knows what another goal would mean to the country, with a victory required to reach next year's finals.
"That would be the perfect scenario – [it doesn't] matter who scores on Monday, as long as we get those three points," Maguire said. "It'd be a special Euros in the summer, potentially having two games in Dublin. All focus is now on Monday night."
The 25-year-old told RTE it was high time he got off the mark for his country and "better late than never" that he finally netted.
"It's just over two years since I made my debut here against Moldova and I suppose it's been a long time coming," Maguire said.
"It was probably the hardest of four or five chances I got tonight, but thankfully I got it out of my feet and struck the ball into the bar corner. I was happy to get my first goal and I think it was important tonight to put on a good performance like we did, heading into the game on Monday.
"Obviously it's a massive game, probably the biggest in a couple of years."
Dressing-room advice from Ireland's record goalscorer Robbie Keane persuaded Maguire it could be his night, and the proof came with the strike early in the second half.
"I felt I was getting into the right areas," Maguire said. "Robbie said to me at half-time, 'Keep making those runs and keep getting into those areas'.
"You dream of these days, especially scoring for your country and I'm absolutely delighted.
"I've been playing off the left a lot this season with Preston and when the gaffer told me before the game I'd be playing off the left I fancied myself to get in position to score a goal."