Republic of Ireland Under-21 boss Jim Crawford is confident Andrew Moran will benefit from his time around the senior squad.

Moran, a late addition to Stephen Kenny’s squad, was an unused substitute in the 1-0 defeat against the Netherlands over the weekend.

The 20-year-old could win his first senior cap against New Zealand on Tuesday night after impressing in the Championship with Rovers.

The decision to call up Moran to the senior squad when he could have played in an “important” Under-21 qualifier had been criticised by former Liverpool man Didi Hamann.

However, Crawford insists it is important to look at “the bigger picture” and reckons the Brighton loanee now has a “real chance” of getting on the pitch against New Zealand.

He told the Irish press: “Didi put his perspective on things, but a player of Andy Moran’s ability is always going to be there or thereabouts with regard to the senior set-up.

“We knew, coming into this international window, that there were a lot of players awaiting scans in the senior team and in one way, you are hoping he stays. But for the player himself, he was overjoyed to receive a senior call up.

“To lose anybody of quality is a blow, but the bigger picture is that it gives other players an opportunity to show they can play at this stage at Under 21 level.

"It also gives Andy a real chance of gaining his first international cap against New Zealand.

“You only have to look at the games he has played at Blackburn to see how well he is performing, he has been excellent for them. He is very well thought of at that club and rightly so.

“The whole thing of 21s football is you want to support players at this level as much as you can to help them develop.”