Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is pleased Tommie Hoban is targeting an international recall with Ireland.
Hoban has not played for the Irish national team, with his last representation coming as an under-21 player in 2016, but stated last month he hoped his Aberdeen form could see him break into the senior side.
After 18 months out of the game, Hoban has emerged as a regular again for the Dons since rejoining on a short-term contract.
He extended that deal until the end of the season and so far has steered clear of any further trouble.
Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is due to name his squad today for the friendly against England and Nations League qualifier against Wales.
While it may come too soon for Hoban to earn a call-up, McInnes is happy to see his player aiming big.
McInnes said: “I’ve certainly got high regard for Tommie as a player – he’s brought a lot to us. He’s been capped for Ireland at under-21 level and I don’t know what they have at their disposal in terms of centre-backs.
“But certainly, the fact Tommie is thinking along those lines pleases me because not so long ago, he was struggling to get going again.
“That’s something to work towards and it pleases me that he’s mentioning that. He’s certainly good enough to be an important player for Aberdeen, play week-in, week-out here, and for me that would probably qualify him enough to be in and around it for his country.”
The former Watford man saw a loan spell at Pittodrie cut short early last year after suffering a devastating knee injury.
He was let go by the Hornets at the end of his contract in 2019 and endured a long period out of the game, when the Dons offered to help him through his rehab work.
McInnes felt a sense of duty to look after Hoban, given the injury occurred during his time with the Dons, and believes the personal relationship with the 26-year-old may have helped to convince him to return.
He added: “There’s no doubt, at one stage, Tommie needed us more than we needed him. But he got injured in an Aberdeen shirt and we felt a responsibility and duty of care to get him through.
Delighted to have extended my contract for the season 😁 excited to see what we can do this year 🙌🏼 https://t.co/fz8rZG95vA
— Tommie Hoban (@tommiehoban05) October 10, 2020
“We knew there was a good player there and by showing that compassion and understanding of his injury, it might just come round to us again. We did it with the right intentions.
“We also felt we were enjoying working with Tommie when he got injured. We were always hopeful we would get the chance to work together again and that’s played out.
“He’s extended his contract to the end of the season and that feels right for both parties. We’ve got the opportunity to work with him for longer and if he stays fit, he’s an important asset for us.”