Thursday 18 January 2018

Manning eyes senior spot in O'Neill squad overhaul

Ryan Manning will earn his fourth Ireland U-21 cap against Israel. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ryan Manning will earn his fourth Ireland U-21 cap against Israel. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

John Fallon

There's plenty at stake for Ryan Manning today at Tallaght Stadium this afternoon, but his international future could be framed by what unfolds later in Cardiff.

Manning will earn his fourth U-21 cap against Israel (3.45) as Ireland set about amassing a 10-point haul from their opening four European Championship qualifiers.

Noel King's side had their winning streak halted by Thursday's stalemate with Norway but they've a fully-fit squad for the assignment against the second-seeded nation in the pool.

Reaching the 2019 finals, a first major U-21 tournament qualification, is the objective in hand but Galway native Manning has senior ambitions occupying his thoughts too.

regulars Martin O'Neill will lose at least five of his squad regulars should the World Cup crusade be ended by Wales and the likes of 21-year-old Manning are foremost amongst the next generation.

"With the U-21s doing so well, hopefully it can turn the head of Martin O'Neill," said the QPR midfielder.

"I wouldn't say the current senior squad is old but this World Cup campaign will be the last before a few players retire.

"There are going to be some positions available in the squad over the next years so hopefully I can get involved.

"Martin O'Neill doesn't just stick to the tried and tested players. He likes to introduce someone that deserves it."

  • Ireland U21 v Israel U21, Live, eir Sport 1, 3.30

IRELAND (probable) - K O'Hara (Manchester United); C Whelan (Liverpool), R Sweeney (Bristol Rovers), S Donnellan (Walsall), D Kane (Huddersfield Town); D Rice (West Ham), J Cullen (Bolton Wanderers); H Charsley (Everton), R Manning (QPR), C Ronan (Wolves); R Greco-Cox (QPR).

Irish Independent

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