IRISH winger Jonny Hayes feels Aberdeen FC team-mate Adam Rooney can be the natural goalscorer his country is crying out for.
Rooney this week earned his first full call-up for the Republic of Ireland after being named in Martin O’Neill’s 33-man provisional squad for a friendly against England and their Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland on June 13.
Rooney has netted 27 goals this season but faces stiff competition from the likes of Robbie Keane, Anthony Stokes, Daryl Murphy, Jon Walters, Kevin Doyle, Shane Long, David McGoldrick and Simon Cox.
But Hayes, a former Republic Under-21 international, is convinced Rooney provides something different.
The Dubliner said: “He’s a natural goalscorer, something that maybe Ireland don’t have at the minute.
“Robbie Keane is obviously getting on a bit now and the others that play up front, I don’t think any of them really have the instinct that Adam has to score goals.
“So hopefully he gets a run out and gets the chance to score a tap-in from a few yards out and stays in the squad for the qualifier.”
Rooney netted eight goals in his first 11 games for Aberdeen after joining in January 2014 from Oldham and Hayes felt the 27-year-old’s goalscoring talent could have been recognised earlier.
“It’s only towards the end of the season that people have realised how many goals he scores,” said Hayes, who also played with Rooney at Inverness.
“He’s had a great record since he signed for Aberdeen and with his nomination for (PFA Scotland) player of the year, a lot of press have picked up on it.
“We have always been confident in Adam’s ability to score goals. God knows how many points he has won us this season by getting goals.”
Aberdeen take on Dundee on Saturday without Niall McGinn, Mark Reynolds, Willo Flood, Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean, who are all rested because of summer international commitments or to avoid a suspension.
But Hayes is determined to get back to winning ways at Dens Park after consecutive defeats by Dundee United and Celtic.
“I’m looking forward to getting back out on the pitch,” he said. “We have lost the last couple of games and it’s never a nice feeling. It sticks with you all week. So we are looking to end the season with a couple of positive results.”