Alfie Jones says Sean McLoughlin is one of the best professionals he's played with, as the Hull City star gets to grips with his first taste of international football with the Republic of Ireland.

McLoughlin recently spent time at Bristol City's training centre as Stephen Kenny's men prepare for two crunch UEFA European Championship qualifiers next month against Turkiye and Gibraltar. His call-up was a fair reward for a fine season with City.

Jones, who has developed a close relationship with the Irishman both on and off the pitch, says a call-up for his country is the least he deserves, for what has been a stellar campaign.

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"He's a top, top player and a top pro. It's nothing less than he deserved, and his performances this year have been unbelievable since he came into the team," the defender told Hull Live.

"I'm absolutely buzzing for him. It proves the direction that the club is going in, breeding and bringing in international players, it's really good for the club."

Jones and McLoughlin have developed a terrific relationship under Rosenior, with the defensive unit keeping 14 clean sheets in the 28 games since the ex-Derby County boss took charge.

The Tigers head coach has also gone on record as saying both Jones and McLoughlin will form a key part of his squad next season. With both now under long-term contracts, it's a relationship that can continue to blossom.

"It's really good, I've always said that I enjoy playing with Sean," he continued. "He's a top, top player and he's a top lad as well. Since that first moment I came in at Leeds - I always bring it back to that Leeds game we played together (in the Carabao Cup) and I feel like we've just built on that.

"We know how each other works, how each other plays so I feel like we bounce off each other really well. It's a credit to him, he's worked hard. He's never moaned, never shook off a training session, he's got his head down, he's grafted.

"Honestly, he's probably one of the best pros I've played with, in terms of that mentality, keeping patient and waiting for his time. All credit to him, he took it this season and he fully deserves it."

Meanwhile, former Tigers first-team coach Tony Pennock says McLoughlin's inclusion in the national team's squad has been a long time coming. He told Hull Live. "I think he's been close a number of times. Since he's got in the team this season, his form - and I've only seen a few games on TV - but speaking to other people, they say his form has been excellent.

"It will be great for Sean. He's an excellent professional who does everything right."

McLoughlin, though, not included in Kenny's final squad for the two Euro qualifiers, with Middlesbrough's Darragh Lenihan and Celtic's Liam Scales preferred in defence.


2023-06-02T04:14:37Z dg43tfdfdgfd