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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Mark McCadden

Preston striker Tom Cannon on his Everton dream and Ireland Under-21 call

Tom Cannon can understand why first-team opportunities haven’t been plentiful at struggling Everton this season.

But now that he is impressing on-loan at Preston, he is targeting a Goodison Park breakthrough next year.

The Ireland Under-21 ace clocked up three substitute appearances for the Toffees, including two in the Premier League, before his January switch to Deepdale.

With three goals and 13 appearances for Preston under his belt, Cannon is already dreaming of a successful return to Merseyside in the summer.

Explaining his January transfer window switch, he said: “Ultimately you want to be playing, don’t you?

“I was on the bench and then came on a couple of times, and obviously Everton were in quite a difficult position at the time with the table and whatnot.

“So to throw a young lad on was probably a bit risky and obviously the manager at the time would have thought the same.

“It came to January and my opportunity came to go to Preston and I thought, ‘Go out there, great club, get playing, and get good minutes under my belt in the Championship and hopefully take that back to Everton’.”

Cannon revealed that he held fire on a possible loan move last summer, with Leagues One and Two clubs sniffing around, so that he could try to gain some first-team exposure at Everton.

Having gotten a taste for the senior game, and aware of the need for experienced heads in the club’s relegation battle, he opted for a move in the new year.

“I had a good conversation (last summer) with the Under-21s manager Paul Tait,” explained the 20-year-old.

“He said, if you stay and play 21s and hopefully bag a load of goals, play well, then anything can happen.

“He was right, I stayed and scored quite a few for the 21s, made my League Cup debut against Bournemouth and then my Premier League debut against Bournemouth the same week.

“And I obviously came on Boxing Day against Wolves, so it was good.

“I was even training with the first team every day.

“And ultimately it got me a better move in January to a better team. It’s all worked out well to be fair and my stay at Preston so far couldn’t have gone better really.

“It’s good to go somewhere and get minutes. Because ultimately you don’t want to be the kind of player who is stuck in the mix of being with the first team but not playing.

“It’s important that you go out and get men’s football experience and hopefully show you can adapt well and then go back to your club in the summer.”

He has linked up with fellow loanee Troy Parrott at Preston - and has outscored the Dubliner by three goals to one since his January switch.

Yet it’s Parrott who has made the senior international squad this week, while Cannon has been included in Jim Crawford’s Under-21 side for Sunday’s friendly against Iceland.

Not that the Aintree-born youngster, with roots in Galway and Mayo, is grumbling.

“To be fair I just thought about like, if the 21s call you up, I’m going to go,” said Cannon, whose cousin Liam Flatley played for the Under-18s against the Czech Republic in 2014.

“I haven’t missed a camp. Every time I’ve been asked, I’ve turned up.

“I wasn’t really looking at the seniors, it was more coming here, hopefully play well against Iceland on Sunday and just see what happens then.”


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