Monday 19 August 2019

Noel King calls on Republic to hit back after back-to-back defeats

Republic of Ireland Under-21s head coach Noel King has called on his side to bounce back against Norway.

The Irish host the Norwegians in Waterford on Tuesday after successive European Under-21s Championship qualifying defeats to Italy and Lithuania which have taken the gloss off a promising start to the campaign.

They suffered a disappointing 3-1 loss to Lithuania in Vilnius on Friday, following a 1-0 loss in Vicenza last month, as Italy and Serbia moved a point clear at the top of Group Two after their 1-1 draw.

"Unfortunately the result in Lithuania last Friday was not as we were expecting and we also picked up a couple of injuries but this happens to every football team and it's up to the players to respond," King said.

"There is a long way to go in the qualification process and we are pleased that our form at the RSC has been good so far.

"This fixture is an excellent opportunity for us to look at some of the players and it gives them a chance to stake a claim for inclusion in the squad when we resume the competitive games."

Liverpool's Dan Cleary and Birmingham's Noe Baba have been called up to boost the defence, while Manchester City's Ian Lawlor and Everton's Sam Byrne have also been recalled.

"We have brought in some players who have impressed in the SSE Airtricity League this year while also bringing in some of the players from the 1996 age-group and they all have an opportunity to make a mark and represent their country," added King.

PA Media

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