Jonathan Browne reports from Tallaght Stadium
The Ireland U21s continued their unbeaten start to qualifying with a 2-0 win over Luxembourg Friday evening. Joshua Koyade's goal in the first half gave Ireland the lead before it was doubled from the spot by captain Conor Coventry. There were many impressive displays from the whole squad. Here are just a few of the standouts.
Standout performances for the Ireland U21s
Wright was the most exciting player on the field. He turned ran at defenders every time he got the ball Whether it was on the left or the right Wright was a handful for both full backs Luxembourg had on the pitch. The first goal came off the back of his brilliant wing play. Wright ran at his man and drilled in a low cross for Koyade to finish.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) October 8, 2021
Wright also linked up well with his full back Joel Bagan of Cardiff City. The two had an excellent connection where Wright would suck in defenders and lay the ball off to Bagan for a cross. Wright is definitely the type of player the Ireland U21s need, a tricky winger who backs himself.
The Bournemouth man along with captain Coventry controlled the park for Ireland. The pair looked very composed and never panicked on the ball. There was a couple of occasions where Kilkenny was under pressure and could've booted the ball away from danger, but the midfielder used his skill to get out of that danger and retained possession.
He performed great in defence as well. At one stage Luxembourg went on the counter and Kilkenny kept up with the quick Luxembourg striker. He then tackled the striker and won a goal kick, saving Ireland from a potential goal conceded. In short, Kilkenny could easily get a call up for Stephen Kenny's squad as he has the quality to play at that level.
The skipper performed for his nation yet again. He always steps up for the Ireland U21s and it was more of the same. Himself and Kilkenny were excellent in the middle of the park and without them Ireland would've struggled. He also converted the vital penalty to give Ireland the 2-0 lead.
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) October 8, 2021
Amid the gloom around the senior team, it's worth reminding ourselves that there are 9 players in Baku this weekend who are eligible for Jim Crawford's excellent Ireland U21s squad. You can see the flood of talent coming through the system and it's great to see.