MICK McCARTHY claims Sunderland's Stephen Elliott can follow in the footsteps of Republic of Ireland record scorer Robbie Keane.

Keane's double in the win over the Faroe Islands on Wednesday night took his tally to 23 goals in 56 appearances for his country, overtaking former Black Cats front-man Niall Quinn's total.

But, at 24, the Tottenham striker could play for the Republic for at least another ten years and is sure to go down in Irish folklore as the greatest forward they have ever produced.

Sunderland boss McCarthy was the man to hand Keane his international debut at the tender age of 17 and paid tribute to the former Leeds and Wolves star.

But McCarthy has his own Irish striking sensation in the making at the Stadium of Light in Elliott, who is already Ireland's all-time Under-21 leading scorer and has attracted the attention of Bolton Wanderers.

The 20-year-old - expected to recover from a groin problem in time to face Millwall tomorrow - is yet to earn a cap for the seniors, but the Sunderland boss has urged national team boss Brian Kerr to take a look at the youngster in action at Championship level.

Since moving to Wearside from Manchester City in the summer, and initially having to bide his time before claiming a first team place, Elliott has grabbed six goals in seven starts.

McCarthy, well aware his front-man is still in the development stage, insists Elliott can follow Keane's lead and become a hit at Lansdowne Road.

"It's down to Brian Kerr to come and see Stephen. He is playing in a league that will get him recognised and he has to cut it in somebody's first team first," said McCarthy, who resigned as Irish boss two years ago.

"Stephen has that happy knack of putting the ball in the net and you can't argue with that.

"He's got good movement and doesn't get bullied for a small man. He puts himself about and he's a good character to have in the team.

"To do what Robbie has done would be an incredible achievement for anyone. I'm delighted for Robbie and there was never any doubt that he would break the record."

Sunderland's Carl Robinson, meanwhile, claims former Newcastle United midfielder Gary Speed would be a good choice to succeed Mark Hughes as Wales boss.

Hughes' last game in charge of the Welsh side was the 3-2 defeat to Poland on Wednesday - a game which also signalled the end of Speed's international career.

The 35-year-old, who still has 18 months to run on his contract at Bolton, announced his retirement from international football after the match, fuelling specualtion that he wants the manager's job.

Welshmen Ian Rush, John Toshack, Dean Saunders and Brian Flynn are among the other names to be mentioned.

But Robinson believes Speed would do as good a job as any.

"It's open for debate. The squad would welcome Gary Speed because everyone knows him from the past ten years or so," said Robinson.

"John Toshack has a lot of experience as well and would do a good job, I'm sure.

"Gary has been an influential player for us. He talks to you constantly and helps you on the pitch and that's why he's been mentioned as a manager.

"He hasn't got the experience but neither did Mark Hughes when he took over. I think Gary will be more than capable of doing a good job."

Striker Michael Bridges could play against Millwall after his thigh problem made rapid progress, while Marcus Stewart (thigh) is also in contention.

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