Football

'As Far As I’m Concerned, He Is Irish And He Wants To Play For Ireland'

'As Far As I’m Concerned, He Is Irish And He Wants To Play For Ireland'

Luca Connell was earlier this week a surprise inclusion in Mick McCarthy's Ireland squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar. The 18-year-old had not been named in the provisional panel when it was announced on May 7th.

Connell, an Ireland U19 international, made his senior debut for Bolton back in January, subsequently playing 12 games in all as they were relegated from the Championship.

McCarthy felt he had impressed sufficiently in those games to deserve this week's call-up.

Liverpool-born, Connell also qualifies to play for England. McCarthy denied he has selected Connell with a view to capping him in a competitive game and so avoiding another Declan Rice-type situation.

"I’ve not brought him in for that," the Ireland manager told RTÉ.

I’ve brought him into the full squad and I’m hoping that he wants to be there.

He was playing for the Under-17s so as far as I’m concerned, he is Irish and he wants to play for Ireland.

McCarthy did not dismiss the young midfielder's chances of playing against Denmark or Gibraltar.

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"Who knows? If he rips it up and is the best player in training next week...

"So if he gets a game in any of the games, he will get it on merit, it’s not me being mischievous.

"He just impressed me and he has impressed everyone else, the bits I’ve seen of him on TV, I have not seen him live.

"He is technically very good. He is a left footer. He gets you playing and he can find a pass."

Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

See Also: Exciting Ireland U21 Squad Named For Toulon Tournament

PJ Browne
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