Ali McCann hasn’t made Northern Ireland’s squad for their Euro 2020 play-offs later this month.
But St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright wouldn’t be surprised if the young midfielder gets his first call-up sooner rather than later.
The 20-year-old has been a star turn for Wright’s Perth team and is already an under-21 international.
The next step is a place in Michael O’Neill’s senior squad.
“I haven’t spoken to Michael for a while but he’s aware of what Ali’s doing,” said the Saints boss.
“When Ali was in the 21s he brought him into the full squad to train with them.
“He has to keep doing what he’s doing to get a full call-up. Nothing will surprise me in terms of what he can achieve in the game.
“He’s played like he did against Celtic all season. His energy levels are high and he breaks the lines with his passing. The vision to see the pass for Stevie May against Celtic was top class.
“He still has a lot to do but he’s certainly heading in the right direction.”
When this season started Wright hadn’t made his mind up which of McCann and Kyle McClean would be closer to the first team after both returned from successful loan spells.
“One was going to go out on loan and one was going to stay,” he recalled.
“It wouldn’t have been right to keep two young players in and around the squad and limit their game-time.
“The thing was, Ali went on against Celtic and that 45 minutes in the 7-0 made a huge impression on me.
“He hasn’t looked back since.
“Of the two of them I thought he was probably more equipped to play a number of games.
“Kyle would have been more of an impact player coming off the bench and playing higher up the pitch.
“Obviously when we brought Jason Holt in Kyle had a decision to make to go and play football, which is why he moved on.”