“Tell me a young lad who hasn’t had their issues at 19 or 20.”
Alan Cawley and Stephen Kelly both hit the nail on the head over Aaron Connolly, ahead of his Ireland return vs Israel.
Connolly started for Ireland against Israel on Friday night in an Under 21 playoff game for the Euro 2023 Championship in Tallaght Stadium.
Cawley and Kelly both said that much has been made about Connolly’s attitude, but that Jim Crawford wouldn’t have called him up if he didn’t have his head screwed on.
Kelly said: “He offers something very different that we have in the frontline. That position hasn’t exactly been secured. With Evan Ferguson being so young, you couldn’t expect him to lead the line all the time.
“Someone like Connolly coming back to this level after playing games at senior level, someone so quick and so strong, he’s trying to find himself and this is a great opportunity.
“Irish fans can get behind him and this is a great chance for him to show what he can do again.”
Cawley agreed with Kelly’s comments, insisting that Crawford was right to bring him into the team.
He said: “He offers so much on the pitch, he has had his issues. He needs to reignite his career. He’s been trying to find himself…
“All the hype and talk surrounded the kid, maybe it was too much too soon for him.
“He’s gone on a downward trajectory. But tell me a young lad who hasn’t had their issues at 19 or 20. He’s knuckled down and come back and I think Jim is delighted to have him back in the squad.
“I think Jim is right to make the call.”
Connolly is currently playing his football out in Italy in the Serie B, where he is yet to set the world alight.
A goal tonight could change everything for the young Galway lad.
Read More About: Aaron Connolly