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Playing For Ireland Still 'Big Ambition' For Liverpool-Born Midfielder

Playing For Ireland Still 'Big Ambition' For Liverpool-Born Midfielder
By PJ Browne Updated
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Luca Connell says playing senior international football for Ireland is one of the major ambitions of his career.

The 21-year-old joined Barnsley during the summer on a free transfer following a disappointing time at Celtic. Expectations had been high for Connell after he made a breakthrough with Bolton in 2019, and signed for the Scottish side that summer. However, in three years at the club, he never made a senior appearance.

The Liverpool-born midfielder's career has rebounded at Barnsley. He's made 31 appearances in League One this season, scoring twice and providing five assists.

29 May 2021; Luca Connell with Mark McGuinness, left, and Oisin McEntee, right, during a Republic of Ireland U21 training session in Marbella, Spain. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"He's an unbelievable kid. You forget he's 21 years-old," Barnsley manager Michael Duff told the Yorkshire Post.

"I didn't know anything about him. I got introduced to him when we signed him a week in and you could see very quickly he could play.


"He'll definitely be a captain of a football club at some point in his career the way he drives it. His ability and his performances are there but the way he drives it and carries himself, the way he puts demands on other people, he'll be a captain somewhere along the line.


"I spoke to Callum Wright at Plymouth, who I had at Cheltenham. They're good mates and grew up together and he said similar things.

"There's things he can improve – he can open up better on one side and things like that – but his level of performance for such a young lad in a pivotal position on the pitch... it's generally experienced players there and that's one thing he isn't. It's almost been seamless and he's understood it.


"If there was a player of the year I'd imagine he'd be in the top three or four."

13 February 2018; Troy Parrott of Republic of Ireland, no.10, celebrates with team-mates Callum Thompson, Barry Coffey, and Luca Connell after scoring his side's equalising goal during the Under 17 International Friendly match between the Republic of Ireland and Turkey at Eamonn Deacy Park in Galway. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Connell was called up to the Ireland senior squad in 2019.

"You always want to get called up for the 21s or the first team, it's everyone's aspiration to play international football but there's a lot of other good players," he said.

"There's always next time. To play for the first team for Ireland is a big ambition for me.


"If you ask any player they'd rather have Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday because you're not playing as much and you've got games to look forward to."

See Also: Here's The Intriguing Ireland Team We Want To See Against France

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