Republic of Ireland midfielder Alan Browne admitted he felt "gutted" by news of Preston manager Alex Neil's departure but says his focus is completely fixed on international matters over the coming window.

Browne, who is the captain at the Championship club, learned of the development shortly before appearing at a pre-2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying press conference as Ireland prepare for the opening game against Serbia in Belgrade on Wednesday.

In a short statement on Sunday afternoon, his club confirmed that they had "parted ways" with Neil after almost four years in charge, following a five-game run without a win that leaves them 16th in the Championship.

"I was pretty gutted earlier," said Browne of the news.

Alex Neil (r) and Alan Browne after the latter's red card

"He's been fantastic for me, for my career and a lot of the lads at Preston as well.

"He's done a fantastic job and ultimately us as players we've let him down because ultimately he's not the one going out onto the pitch but he'll be the one taking the criticism at the end of it.

"So it's gutting for me but I'm here in the (Ireland) camp now and I need to put all my focus on that and I'll worry about [the club situation] when I get back to my club."

Browne is currently suspended at club level after a red card on Wednesday against Middlesbrough which ruled him out of what turned out to be Neil's last game in charge - a 1-0 loss to Luton on Saturday.

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