Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy has named his squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers which includes 18-year-old Luca Connell.
The Liverpool-born midfielder featured in last season’s UEFA European U-17 Championships and after breaking into Bolton Wanderers’ first team this season, he is deserving of his place in the squad according to McCarthy.
“Luca deserves this opportunity,” said McCarthy as he brings his squad to Faro, Portugal for a training camp ahead of the two Group D qualifiers.
“With midfielders Conor Hourihane, Glenn Whelan and Josh Cullen all on play-off duty with their clubs in the coming weeks, this is the perfect chance to get Luca into the squad.
“He has had a fine season with Bolton playing 15 times in total and even with their relegation troubles, he has impressed so many people. I know a number of big clubs have sent scouts to watch him so this is a chance to get him in to work with the senior players and see how he gets on.”
Ireland are away to Denmark on June 7 before they welcome Gibraltar to the Aviva Stadium on June 10.
23 of the 27-man squad will travel to Portugal for a warm-weather training camp before the play-off quartet of Richard Keogh, Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane, and Josh Cullen join up in Dublin before the trip to Denmark.
“We will miss the lads in Portugal but we will be tuning into their games,” said McCarthy as he revealed his final squad to FAI.ie.
“I’m sure there will be divided loyalties when Glenn and Conor take on Richard but Josh might get a clean run at the support of the squad when Charlton play Sunderland.
“The benefit for us is that the four lads will be firing on all cylinders when they join up with the rest of the group in Dublin at the end of the month.”
Republic of Ireland Squad
Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Sean McDermott (Kristiansund BK)
Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), John Egan (Sheffield United), Kevin Long (Burnley), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City)
Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Luca Connell (Bolton Wanderers), Josh Cullen (Charlton Athletic*), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth)
David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), Shane Long (Southampton), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Scott Hogan (Aston Villa), Callum Robinson (Preston North End)
*Indicates the player is on loan