Friday 18 October 2019

Mick McCarthy: It's 'perfect chance' to call up Luca Connell

Connell will know the boundaries if he earns a place in McCarthy's plans for the qualifiers. Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Sportsfile
Connell will know the boundaries if he earns a place in McCarthy's plans for the qualifiers. Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Two years after a surprise summer training camp invite for Declan Rice, another promising English-born player has received a call from an Ireland manager.

Bolton starlet Luca Connell will join Mick McCarthy's squad that arrives in Portugal this morning to spend the week as part of preparations for June's Euro 2020 qualifiers with Denmark and Gibraltar.

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The Ireland U-19 international is from Liverpool and has been the subject of transfer speculation this term after being one of the shining lights in a troubled year for the cash-strapped club.

Bolton were relegated from the Championship and will be starting life in League One with a points deduction. Connell made 15 appearances this term and is likely to be sold this summer.

In February, it was reported that the English FA were keeping tabs on Connell, which naturally sparked fears for his Irish future given their success in recruiting Rice and Jack Grealish.

Connell - a member of the Ireland U-17 squad in last summer's Euros - will know the boundaries if he earns a place in McCarthy's plans for the qualifiers.

The Aviva Stadium date with Gibraltar would conceivably offer scope for experimentation.

"Luca deserves the opportunity," said McCarthy.

Perfect

"With midfielders Conor Hourihane, Glenn Whelan (both Aston Villa) and Josh Cullen (Charlton) all on play-off duty, this is the perfect chance to get Luca into the squad.

"He has had a fine season with Bolton, 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."

Hourihane, Whelan, Cullen and Derby's Richard Keogh will link up with the 23-man Portugal party once their club commitments are finished.

Shamrock Rovers midfielder Jack Byrne has been cut from the provisional panel along with Harry Arter, Aiden O'Brien and James Collins.

Norway-based Sean McDermott replaces injured Manchester United goalkeeper Kieran O'Hara - who spent the English season on loan with Macclesfield.

Shane Long, Callum Robinson, Alan Browne, Callum O'Dowda, Scott Hogan and Greg Cunningham are available having missed March's double header.

Goalkeepers: D Randolph (Middlesbrough), M Travers (Bournemouth), S McDermott (Kristiansund BK)

Defenders: S Coleman (Everton), M Doherty (Wolves), J Egan (Sheffield Utd), K Long (Burnley), R Keogh (Derby Co), S Duffy (Brighton), E Stevens (Sheffield Utd), G Cunningham (Cardiff City)

Midfielders: A Judge (Ipswich), A Browne (Preston), G Whelan (Aston Villa), J Hendrick (Burnley), C Hourihane (Aston Villa), L Connell (Bolton), J Cullen (Charlton Athletic*), R Brady (Burnley), C O'Dowda (Bristol City), J McClean (Stoke City), R Curtis (Portsmouth)

Forwards: D McGoldrick (Sheffield Utd), S Long (Southampton), S Maguire (Preston), S Hogan (Aston Villa), C Robinson (Preston)

*Indicates the player is on loan

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