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Ireland U21 Skipper Explains The Brilliance Of Jim Crawford

Ireland U21 Skipper Explains The Brilliance Of Jim Crawford
Luke Delaney
By Luke Delaney
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With a massive game against Italy this afternoon, Jim Crawford's Ireland U21 team know a win over the Azzurri will cement a top place finish in the group stages.

It's a huge fixture for Crawford, who's quietly driven this Ireland U21 to the brink of qualification for a major tournament.

Coventry's comments on the Ireland U21 manager

One young man who knows all about Crawford's coaching attributes is Conor Coventry, who now holds the record for the most appearances at the age group for Ireland after winning his 25th cap for Ireland against Montenegro last week.

Speaking to the media before the game against Italy, Coventry spoke about the influence that Jim Crawford has on the team and praised his manager.

I think one of Jim's massive strengths, before I even speak about him as a manager is just as a man he's honest and he's caring and I think there's not a lad who would say a bad word about him.

"He really cares about us lads, our careers and that transfers over to his management. He's so interested in what we want to do. We want to improve and he really helps us sort of improve. I know that he is always open for a chat if I want to speak to him about any little thing that I want to get better at or a decision I had to make, I know that I can speak to him and that's one of his key qualities.

"He's so approachable and open and I think that makes the team trust him and they all know they can speak to him. And when you've a manager that is that good with man management everyone would run through a wall for him really."


Crawford was named Ireland U21 manager after Stephen Kenny took over as senior coach back in April 2020. Prior to this, he was head coach of the Ireland U18 side from 2016 to 2019. The Chicago born former Irish U21 international led the team to a fourth place finish in the 2017 Slovakia Cup. His efforts at the competition were rewarded as he was named coach of the tournament.

The Dubliner started his playing career at Rangers AFC in Terenure before moving to Bohemians in 1991, where he became a fan favourite at Dalymount Park. He won PFAI Young Player of the Year in the 1993-94 season, leading to Newcastle capturing the signature of the midfielder.

After moving to St. James Park, Crawford found his game time limited and was loaned out to Rotherham and Dundee United before making a permanent transfer to Reading in 1998.


Following two years at Reading where he made 20 appearances and scoring one goal, Crawford moved back to Ireland and enjoyed a very successful eight seasons at Shelbourne. His stint at Tolka Park saw Crawford win four Premier Division titles.

27 July 2005; Jim Crawford, Shelbourne, in action against Bostina Gabriel, Steuea Bucharest. UEFA Champions League, Second Qualifying Round, First Leg, Shelbourne FC v FC Steuea Bucharest, Tolka Park, Dublin. Picture credit; Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

Should Crawford's Ireland U21s reach the promised land today, he'll be remembered far more for his coaching achievements.

Kick off against Italy is at 5pm on Tuesday evening. You can find out all the information on how to watch Ireland U21s v Italy U21s here.

See Also:  Michael Obafemi Ready To Put The Past Behind Him And Become The Star Ireland Envisioned

Michael Obafemi Ready To Put The Past Behind Him And Become The Star Ireland Envisioned


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