John Egan feels it is only a matter of time before this young Brentford squad makes it to the Premier League. The defender was speaking at the end of another successful Sky Bet Championship season for The Bees. As well as a ninth-place finish, youngsters such as Chris Mepham, Ollie Watkins, and Neal Maupay all got their first tastes of Championship football with The Bees, as Dean Smith’s side took the promotion race to the penultimate weekend.
With Brentford’s squad the second youngest in the league, John feels that the hunger and desire of the group to get better will be a huge benefit next term.
Speaking in the days after the conclusion of the season, John said: “This year we have finished ninth with more points and a late Play-Off push. We’ve played some really good football and seen the emergence of a good few players having their first season in the Championship. This season will be good for them and the whole squad so, if we can keep it together, you never know what can happen. We play young vs old games and you have lads who are 23 playing on the old team some days. That is good because the club recruits the right type of people. They recruit young and hungry players who are eager to kick on. They want to come to Brentford to better themselves and the football club and that can only take you in one direction.”
John’s second season with The Bees had its ups and downs, with the defender missing two months around the turn of the year due to injury. Despite that time out, the 25-year-old still managed to make 34 appearances, scoring three goals over the campaign. Although he was pleased with his personal form, as well as that of the team, John feels there is plenty more to come from both.
“I’ve still managed to play a lot of games even though I was out for a while with two concussions,” reflected John on his season. “My form has been good, in the main, and as a team we have dominated and controlled a lot of games this season. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that we missed out on the Play-Offs. I will be thinking about that a bit in the summer. I want to do well for this football club and I want the club to kick on. As long as I am part of this football club I will want us to get promoted. That is everybody’s aim.”
The Cork-born defender’s performances this season have kept him in and around the Republic of Ireland set-up after making his debut last March. John was an unused substitute last night as Martin O’Neill’s side lost to France but will be hoping to earn his third cap when the USA head to Dublin on Saturday. For a proud Irishman, international recognition means the world to John but he is well aware that only comes with hard work and good performances at club level.
“I managed to get my first two caps for Ireland last year,” said John. “There is a lot of competition in the squad so I just have to come in here every day and work hard. If I get in the team for the weekend I have to play to the best of my ability and hopefully I will get acknowledged. There’s no bigger honour in the game that representing your country. Anyone would pick playing for their country over the summer holidays so I won’t have any problem if that’s the case.”
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