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Celtic Winger, Blackburn Midfielder In Contention For Ireland Squad

PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Celtic winger Mikey Johnston has received international clearance and is now eligible to play for Ireland in this month's games against Latvia and France.

It emerged last week that the 23-year-old would be switching his international allegiance from Scotland to Ireland.

Glasgow-born Johnston, currently on loan from Celtic at Portuguese side Vitória Guimarães, qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandfather who was from Derry.

mikey johnston celtic international clearance ireland

7 July 2018; Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers high fives Mikey Johnston before he comes on as a substitute during the friendly match between Shamrock Rovers and Glasgow Celtic at Tallaght Stadium in Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

"I'm delighted to declare for the Republic of Ireland and excited for what my future holds in an Ireland shirt," said Johnston.

"Myself and my family have always been proud of our Irish roots with my grandad hailing from Derry and to potentially now play for Ireland is something that really excites me.


"It's up to me now to impress the manager and to get selected to the squad but my focus now is to break into that squad and to make an impact for the team in a big year for the team.

"I've always watched the Ireland matches and the atmosphere always looks incredible. I can't wait to play at the Aviva Stadium and hopefully create some great moments for the team."


In 21 appearances for Vitória Guimarães this season, Johnston has scored three goals and provided three assists.


29 May 2021; Players from left, Jason Knight, Sam Szmodics, Josh Cullen and Jamie McGrath arrive for a Republic of Ireland training session at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, Spain. Photo by Pedro Salado/Sportsfile

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny said last week that Johnston has "has characteristics that maybe we don’t have in the squad".


"Mikey is an exciting player," Kenny added on Wednesday, "a great individual talent and we're delighted to see him declare for the Republic of Ireland.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him play at the Aviva Stadium, dribbling in the way that he can and we look forward to helping him fulfil his potential in an Ireland shirt."

It also emerged on Wednesday that Blackburn midfielder Sam Szmodics is in contention for a place in Stephen Kenny's Ireland squad.


The 27-year-old was called up to the Ireland squad in May of 2021, while he was at Peterborough, for the friendlies against Andorra and Hungary. However, he has not been involved since. The Lancashire Telegraph reported on Wednesday that his absence was due to "administration issues surrounding the paperwork submitted for his Irish passport". Those issues have now been resolved.

Szmodics, who qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandmother from Longford, moved to Blackburn from Peterborough last summer. He has been excellent form, scoring four goals in 23 appearances for promotion-chasing Blackburn. He also scored a crucial goal for the club in their FA Cup victory over Leicester last month.

Stephen Kenny is set to name his squad next week for the friendly against Latvia on March 22nd and the European Championship qualifier against France on March 27th.


See Also: Michael O'Neill Hopeful Cliftonville Starlet Will Reject Ireland Advances This Month

mikey johnston celtic international clearance ireland


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