Wednesday 28 September 2016

U-17 star Anthony Scully putting injuries behind him ahead of European Championships

Published 06/05/2015 | 15:44

Republic of Ireland's Anthony Scully in action during squad training.
Republic of Ireland's Anthony Scully in action during squad training.

Things are starting to fall into place nicely for Anthony Scully.

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Injury problems which set him back at the start of the season are, seemingly, now in the past, he has just signed his first professional contract with West Ham United and tomorrow he will be back in the green jersey of Ireland a couple of months after picking up the Under-15 Player of the Year award.

But before a ball is kicked at the Under-17 European Championships in Bulgaria, he has the small matter of sitting an English exam in between training sessions. Scully is as calm and composed off the football pitch as he is on it and the affable youngster is very much a realist.

He turned 16 just two weeks ago and is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s brightest prospects across the water and, although born in Watford, he speaks with a distinctive Dublin accent, just like his dad Tony who has spent most of his life in the UK following a football career that saw him play with 13 clubs while he also represented Ireland at U21 and ‘B’ level.

Despite playing a year above his own age group, Scully is likely to play a key role for Tom Mohan’s Ireland in their first match in the Under-17 European Championships tomorrow against Holland in Bulgaria.

Being back in the Ireland set-up after injury ruled him out of the European qualifiers is clearly a source of comfort. His calm demeanour shifts to one of excitement as he talks about his international career so far with the Boys in Green.

“Awe ye I loved it yeah. It’s very good, I have loved every minute of it,” he told Independent.ie.

“There is a great togetherness with Ireland, a real good atmosphere and I am enjoying playing for Ireland.”

He is acutely aware, however, that football will not be around forever and his academic life is very much a part of who he is.

“I have to sit my exams like any normal kid but I am getting a bit of help off a tutor in West Ham so I have a good balance. I should do well in my exams (GCSEs),” he added.

“I take that seriously as well. You have to. One injury and then you might have to fall back on something else and if you have your good grades that always helps.”

An attacking midfielder with a keen eye for goal, Scully has been likened to West Ham legend Frank Lampard by many Hammers fans and last weekend he signed a professional contract with the club while he has trained with the first team already this season.

“I don’t really look at that (Lampard comparisons), I just listen to my dad’s advice and what he tells me and obviously the coach but resemblance to other players is just a compliment really. I don’t see myself as anyone else I see myself as myself,” continued Scully.

“I have had a bit of an unlucky season with an injury I had. But I am over that and back after missing a good bit of the season.

“I am delighted my club future has been secured and it’s an honour to sign my first professional contract with West Ham. I want to finish the season strongly and getting back to pre-season next year.”

Finishing the season strongly begins with a daunting clash against the Dutch in the Under-17 European Championships tomorrow. While he is vying for a place in the team alongside lads that are a full year older than him, it’s a challenge that Scully will very much welcome.

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