Former Republic of Ireland striker David Connolly says Aaron Connolly must park his ego and accept he has to prove himself in the Championship, or lower, to kickstart his stuttering club and international career.

Aaron Connolly was omitted from Stephen Kenny's latest Ireland squad last week, with the manager referencing a heel problem that has hampered the Galway man for the last few months.

It is, however, another setback in what's been a frustrating year for the 22-year-old. He exploded onto the scene with a brilliant brace for Brighton against Spurs in the autumn of 2019 but injuries and a loss of form have curtailed his progress.

Connolly went to Middlesbrough on loan last January and failed to make the sort of impact club and player would have hoped for, and David Connolly - who scored nine times for Ireland in 41 games - believes he's at a major crossroads.

"(Boro boss) Chris Wilder would always, always want four strikers," he told the RTÉ Soccer Podcast.

"I think Aaron would have known he was going to get opportunities but it was up to him to take them. I've been at the Amex, I've sat behind Aaron when he's been on that bench, and he doesn't seem the most enthusiastic to go and get warmed up to come on.

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"I've looked at him closely. He wasn't happy he wasn't playing at Brighton. He's gone to Middlesbrough. He wasn't playing, he wasn't starting.

"Graham Potter is a top, top manager. (Blackpool winger) CJ Hamilton is playing under Neil Critchley, a terrific manager. Some of the Irish lads have got some really good managers.

"It would concern me that Graham doesn't seem to have a space for him when Brighton are not blessed with goalscoring centre-forwards.

"I think Aaron has got a bit of work to do. I have worries about Aaron in terms of where he goes from here I know Chris Wilder a little bit. I know people who have worked under him, I know his staff.

"A lot of people have so many good things to say about him. I think he'd have given Aaron a lot of opportunities to impress him, in training, with his behaviour et cetera. Chris doesn't suffer fools at all, so it would worry me that Aaron didn't have the impact he wanted.

"Where is his next loan going to be?"

David Connolly scores against Liechtenstein at Lansdowne Road back in 1997

Connolly joined Dutch side Feyenoord in 1997 and then had a highly successful loan spell at Excelsior for two years.

He was sceptical about how suited Aaron Connolly would be to a spell on the continent, and said he needs to focus on finding his level first and foremost.

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"Aaron's issue is maybe he feels he's ready and good enough to play games in the Premier League and maybe his own manager doesn't think that.

"I think he's got to accept that and go to the Championship, which is still a really good level.

"Even if he's got to drop lower, has he got an ego that would prevent him from doing that?

"Finding that next loan for him going to be important. You could waste six months of the season up to January, which is what he did at Brighton (last season). Before you know it it's a whole season gone."

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