Shane Duffy has urged Aaron Connolly’s growing army of fans not to heap too much pressure on him.

But the Albion centre-back believes his club colleague would have “no problem” making a first international start.

Pundits are calling for Mick McCarthy to include Connolly, 19, in his Republic of Ireland XI to face Switzerland tomorrow after a brief but explosive contribution off the bench in Georgia.

Duffy, who underlined his recovery from a calf strain by playing the full 90 minutes of the 0-0 draw in Tbilisi, said: “He’s been brilliant.

“I’m looking after him. He’s a great kid. I’m just trying to keep him settled, keep his feet on the ground. I’m delighted for him.

“If he starts against Switzerland? No problem for him. He’s mature for his age.

“He’s playing in the Premier League, you all seen him against Tottenham.

“He thrives off big moments, he thrives off big games and that’s what he wants. He loves scoring goals and he always will, whatever level he plays at and hopefully for Ireland.

“But you can’t put too much pressure on him, he’s only a kid and he’s played three or four games in his career.

“Let him ease into it and hopefully, in five or ten years’ time, we’re talking about a great player.”

Speaking on RTE Radio, former Republic international Kenny Cunningham said: “After the impact he had, after the way he carried himself, I think it’s probably a fair shout he will start (in Switzerland).

“I think I’d be surprised if he doesn’t start, it’s a question of where he plays.”

Duffy added: “It’s been coming, I’ve been working with him now for two years and he’s been unlucky not to be playing more with us.

“That’s him in now, he’s got a big future ahead of him.

“That’s not to put too much pressure on him, he’s only a kid and let his football do the talking. He’s got everything ahead of him.

“I thought he made the difference when he came on.

“I don’t like playing him in training every day.

“But I think you have to be patient with him, let him grow into it.

“He has only had one start in his whole career in league football. The future is bright for him.”