QPR attacker believes Smithies is good enough to play for England
PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:17 06 February 2017
Jamie Mackie has backed QPR No 1 Alex Smithies to get a call-up to England's senior squad.
The 26-year-old has been a stand-out performer for the Rs this season, and his form hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the likes of Championship rivals Aston Villa expressing an interest in him in the most recent transfer window.
However, the Times understands Smithies is set to sign a contract extension at the club and Mackie says the experienced stopper should be in with a shout of making Gareth Southgate’s next squad.
He said: “I think he’s an outstanding keeper – you’d struggle to tell me a better keeper about [in the Championship].
“I’ve been lucky enough to play with some really good keepers and there’s some good ones in the Championship, Karl Darlow [who I played with at Nottingham Forest] being one of them.
“If he [Smithies] carries on going and he catches the eye, who knows if he’ll get a call up, other people in the Championship have. He should definitely be under consideration - I think he’s more than good enough.
“It won’t be something he is thinking about on a day-to-day basis, he’s just focusing on his performances every weekend.”
QPR’s director of football Les Ferdinand told the Times last week that he is convinced Smithies - who says he wants to stay at Loftus Road for many years to come - will sign a new deal.
Mackie, who has impressed since returning from an eight-month injury lay off, says the former Huddersfield Town man will have no problems adjusting to playing in England’s top tier when the opportunity arises.
He added: “He is a top keeper and one day if we get back in the Premier League, he’ll be fine to be playing at that level every week.
“We want him to be here as long as possible, as it will only benefit us as a team.
“We’d be stupid to think there won’t be interest from Premier League clubs in him at some point, but we as a club have got to keep showing an ambition to progress and hopefully Alex will want to stay here long term, too.”