In-form Ireland striker Scott Hogan: I’d like to think I’m improving

Republic of Ireland striker Scott Hogan is confident he has yet to hit his peak after finally finding happiness in his career.

The well-travelled Birmingham frontman, 30, reunited with his international counterparts after being rewarded with a Sky Bet Championship hat-trick for his current good form in a 3-2 win at West Brom last week.

However, when asked where his game stands, he said: “I don’t like to think I’m at my peak, I’d like to think I’m improving.

“I’m happy at my club now, it’s the first time in four or five years that I can say that, so I’m comfortable. I can be myself and the main thing is that I’m finally happy.

“I feel lucky to play my football, I like going in so I don’t hope as far as the climax goes. We always want to keep going and getting better.

“I’m 30 now and that’s generally when you peak, they say, but I’m hoping to keep going. I take care of myself and hopefully this is just the beginning.”

Former Rochdale trainee Hogan earned a £9million move from Brentford to Aston Villa in January 2017 but his 61 appearances in three and a half seasons at Villa Park yielded just 10 goals and after stints at Sheffield United, Stoke and Birmingham, he came in September 2022 permanently to Blues.

When you get older and you think, “I don’t play at club level, does that come back?”

Ireland striker Scott Hogan

During a difficult period in his career, Hogan went two and a half years without cap for Ireland before coming on as a substitute in a 1-0 friendly win over Lithuania in March and Stephen’s first start in 33 months Nations League against Ukraine in Poland in June.

Hogan admitted, “It was just totally unexpected. I remember speaking to the manager. I don’t think I had started a club game in the last three months so it came out of the blue. But it just showed that as long as you perform, there is always a way back.

“As you get older you think ‘I don’t play at club level, will that come back?’ but the manager has proven that if you play well he will pick you, so hopefully I can keep playing well at club football and transfer it in the countryside.”

Hogan, who made his debut in a 1-0 loss in a friendly in Turkey in March 2018, has 11 caps and hopes to add a 12th – and his first international goal – against Scotland at Hampden Park on Saturday while Ireland are trying to repeat their 3-0 home win in June.

He said: “There’s a level of confidence out there that I’ve never seen in an Irish team. It’s just knowing we can do it and just believing that’s the way we want to play and hopefully the more we do, the more results like that will happen.” In-form Ireland striker Scott Hogan: I’d like to think I’m improving

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