Aaron Connolly is relishing the pressure of being asked to provide the goals for a new-look Republic of Ireland team.

The Brighton striker was thrust into the international limelight as a 19-year-old by Mick McCarthy as a late substitute in a Euro 2020 qualifier in Georgia almost 13 months ago, but has a chance to establish himself as a fixture under new manager Stephen Kenny, previously his manager at Under-21 level.

That would represent a huge responsibility for a man who is yet to open his account, but he is confident both he and Norwich teenager Adam Idah will cope with having to follow in the footsteps of the nation's record scorer Robbie Keane.

Connolly said: "I love hearing stuff like that and I love the pressure. It's nice at 20 years of age and 19 for Adam, to have pressure like that on you and fans and coaches expecting things of you.

"I'm never going to shy away from that. I like the way people put pressure on because it makes you feel wanted and they obviously think you can do something great.

"I'm sure me and Adam will have no problem with that."

Connolly, who has not started a game for his club since October 3, is hoping for a chance to line up in his favoured central role following David McGoldrick's retirement from international football.

That could come in Thursday evening's friendly against England at Wembley as Ireland warm up for their Nations League clashes with Wales and Bulgaria, but even that is a game the youngster insists he will take in his stride after admitting he is too young to understand the excitement older generations feel around the fixture.

He said: "The gaffer touched on it, that Darren Randolph was the only one born back in 1988 when Ireland beat England, so maybe it is a bit lost on me as I don't really understand most of what has gone on or happened. But I am very excited for it."

Meanwhile, Connolly has backed Brighton team-mate Shane Duffy, currently on loan at Celtic, to rediscover his best form after being dropped by Bhoys boss Neil Lennon following a difficult couple of weeks.

He said: "He's a brilliant centre-half and he has shown that for many, many years, so a couple of games is not going to change what everyone thinks of him.

"He's shown for Ireland how good he is and he's shown for Brighton how good he was and how highly rated he was." 

Watch the Republic of Ireland's Wembley friendly against England this Thursday with coverage beginning on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player at 7.30pm.