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The three League of Ireland players to keep an eye on for the Ireland U21s against Italy and Sweden

Ireland Under-21s

It is a big week for Jim Crawford’s Ireland Under-21s.

This week, Jim Crawford and his Ireland Under-21 side head into a crunch double-header against Italy and Sweden, and both games are at home in Tallaght Stadium.

After a costly defeat to Montenegro last month, the Boys in Green will be acutely aware that they need to win both games if they are to qualify for the Under-21 European Championship.

Ahead of the important double-header of games, we take a quick look at the three League of Ireland players that will be looking to impress on the international stage.

Brian Maher.

Fresh from a superb playoff win for Bray Wanderers away to Galway United, Brian Maher will be looking to bring his club form onto the international stage again.

Maher, formerly of St Patrick’s Athletic, has been a major part of the Seagulls defence over the past two seasons, and it has been the same for the Ireland Under-21s.

While his talents are no surprise to anyone at this stage, Maher will surely start both games for the Under-21s as he looks to add to his growing star at home and abroad.

Ross Tierney.

Tierney will be departing Bohemians at the end of the 2021 season for Scottish side Motherwell, but he will be hoping that he can make the most of his latest international cap this week.

The 20-year-old Dubliner has been in fine form for Bohs in recent weeks after his move to Scotland was made official – and it is likely he will play a key role for Crawford’s side against the Italians on Friday.

A terrier-like midfielder, the Ballymun man has shown he can mix it on the biggest stage with Bohs, and there will be no tougher test than Italy on Friday at Under-21 level.

Despite that, those are the games he often thrives in as a big game awaits on Friday for him.

Colm Whelan.

A lethal finisher, UCD’s Colm Whelan has shown glimpses of what he can do on the international stage already for the Ireland Under-21s, and with his stock rising by each passing game.

Whelan, 21, has netted 23 goals in all competitions for UCD so far this season – and you would suspect he may score a couple more between now and the end, whenever that may be.

Colm Whelan

It is understood that he is attracting considerable interest in his services for next season along with his UCD teammate Liam Kerrigan, with Shamrock Rovers and Damien Duff’s Shelbourne understood to be lurking for the former.

But games like these against Italy will be a real acid test for Whelan who has shown he can easily do it at club level. If he can prove that he can do it on the international stage against world-class opposition, that stock will rise even higher.

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