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Two Former Irish U-21s Declare Fresh Allegiance With Northern Ireland

Two Former Irish U-21s Declare Fresh Allegiance With Northern Ireland
By Arthur James O'Dea
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Michael O'Neill is reportedly set to recruit two former Republic of Ireland U-21s for his Northern Ireland senior squad.

27-year-old Sean Scannell and 23-year-old Niall Keown have both represented Ireland's U-21s, but, now remain intent on becoming a part of the Northern Ireland set up.

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As reported in the Belfast Telegraph, Scannell, who is contracted to Huddersfield Town but spent last season on loan at Burton Albion, is already well on his way to joining up with O'Neill's squad:

Sean has submitted all the paperwork. He has a shoulder injury at the moment, but he is a player who will come into the equation for us come September. Someone like Sean coming in would be good. It would be pleasing to get him on board.

Born in London, Scannell's father is from Armagh. Having represented Ireland at every level from U-17 up to and including one appearance for the Irish 'B' team, O'Neill highlighted the importance of Northern Ireland's attempts at "strengthening the pool of players and trying to get as many players as we can to give us the opportunity to compete at the level we're competing at.”

Keown - who is the son of former Arsenal and England defender, Martin - has had a significantly lesser role within the underage set up in Ireland.

Now playing his football with Partick Thistle in the Scottish Premiership, he has declared his own availability to O'Neill. As yet, it is unclear whether the former Shamrock Rovers manager will take him up on the offer.

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