Aaron Connolly: Conor Hourihane says Republic of Ireland teenager's form 'no surprise'
Last Updated: 08/10/19 6:08pm
Teenager Aaron Connolly's double for Brighton against Tottenham "was no surprise to me", says Republic of Ireland team-mate and Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane.
Connolly was drafted into the Republic of Ireland's senior squad just hours after impressing against Spurs on Saturday in his first Premier League start, having initially been called up for the U21s.
Hourihane had already come up against Connolly while playing in the EFL Cup for Villa, who won the game 3-1, and was impressed by the young forward.
"I played against him a few weeks ago in the EFL Cup against Brighton and he played 60 minutes in that game and he gave our two centre-halves a tough, tough night," said Hourihane.
"When he was banging in a few goals at the weekend that was no surprise to me. He's got that energy and that work rate to give centre-halves a tough day at the office.
"He did that against Spurs on Saturday so I was delighted to see it.
"It's fantastic for him. It's always great for the Irish set up when there's lads doing well."
The Republic of Ireland face Georgia and Switzerland in European Qualifiers during this international break.
Mick McCarthy's side top Group D after five games, leading second-placed Denmark by two points.
"We all know it's a big week, we've got a couple of big games coming up," Hourihane added.
"We'll concentrate on Georgia first and then Switzerland. It's going to be a tough, tough week and one we are really excited for."
The Republic of Ireland set off for Georgia on Thursday with the fitness of Shane Duffy and David McGoldrick in doubt. Manager McCarthy says he will give the duo every chance of proving they are ready.
"They're not my position so I don't really care to be honest," Hourihane laughed.
"They've been fantastic for us this campaign and over the course they've been involved with the squad. Duffy especially, he's been a big part of the squad for quite a few years.
"I think that's something for the medical staff and the manager to look after, we just have to look after what we're doing as players and get ourselves ready."