Preston don’t have many internationals in their squad, but there could be another one very soon.

Alan Browne and Seani Maguire often head off with Ireland, but Billy Bodin has slipped out of Wales contention and Daniel Johnson still hasn’t been capped by Jamaica.

For some time, it has been speculated that Tom Barkhuizen will end up playing for South Africa, as he qualifies for the Bafana Bafana through his Afrikaans grandfather.

South Africa boss Molefi Nteski has commented on Barkhuizen a couple of times this season; first in September, branding the winger a ‘good player’ and one he had interest in.

Preston North End’s Tom Barkhuizen celebrates scoring. (Photo by Dave Howarth – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Come November, Ntseki added that talks were underway to get Barkhuizen on board. Since then, we haven’t heard a great deal about it – but there’s now an update to Barkhuizen’s situation.

Ntseki has now told Goal that South Africa are communicating with Preston regularly, with the COVID-19 breakout preventing him from going to England to see Barkhuizen.

Nteski noted that Brentford’s South African ace Kamohelo Mokotjo has spoken highly of Barkhuizen, all pointing towards a South African call-up in the very near future.

“Thomas is a good player, we have been following him,” said Ntseki. “We have clips of him playing for his team, I had a chat with Kamohelo Mokotjo after they played Preston, without telling him why. He was very impressed with Thomas and the type of player he is.”

Head coach Molefi Ntseki of South Africa. (Photo by Alex Grimm – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

“The manager has done very well, we are now communicating with the club and agent and player on a daily basis. The plan was for me to go to England before this camp, but because of Coronavirus, the computers could not get a visa ready for me,” he added.

On the one hand, this is great news, as Barkhuizen will receive well-deserved credit for his performances. He’s been Preston’s most consistent attacker this season, bagging 11 goals and four assists as a versatile piece of Alex Neil’s front line.

However, there’s a big problem. In January 2021, the Africa Cup of Nations will take place, meaning that Preston risk losing Barkhuizen for up to a month of the season.

That would leave Neil with a huge hole to fill in the Preston attack, making another winger a priority during this summer’s transfer window.

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