Friday 21 June 2019

Idah looking to further enhance growing reputation with U-21s

Clinical: Adam Idah has scored four goals in Stephen Kenny’s two games. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Clinical: Adam Idah has scored four goals in Stephen Kenny’s two games. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

John Fallon

At least one player from the class of 2019 in Toulon will retrospectively enter their tournament's Hall of Fame but Adam Idah would settle for being one of Ireland's best-remembered talents here.

Indeed, true to his modest self, the Norwich City striker feels plenty of his peers in Stephen Kenny's U-21 squad are capable of leaving their stamp on the 12-nation tournament.

Idah did his part in Monday's opening 4-1 victory over China by burying a couple of second-half penalties.

In Kenny's two games at the helm, including the Euro qualifying victory over Luxembourg in March, the forward has supplied four of the seven goals for the next senior manager.

Consistency of firepower at international level has been the 18-year-old's hallmark. So much so that he's lost count, but he reckons he has racked up more than 25 since U-17 level.

Idah was one of five members of Kenny's starting team on Monday who next month will be part of a first Ireland squad since 2011 to feature at the U-19 European finals.

"There's a lot of good young players coming through the system," insisted the former College Corinthians attacker.

"It's difficult to know what will happen in the future but the success of the underage teams has to be a good sign.

"We've seen with Luca Connell being recently picked for the seniors that a pathway exists if you're good enough.

"The feeling within the group is that there are no barriers to success."

Idah been equally prolific on the club front, his dozen goals in Premier League Two enhancing his reputation.

There was even reported interest from Manchester United.

"I don't know where that came from but there's been no contact," he clarifies with a giggle.

It's early days at the Toulon tournament; today's fixtures completing the second of three group match-days.

Tonight's meeting with Mexico, as Idah and Kenny attest, will present a new and stiffer challenge.

"Mexico are known to be technically good but this team, with players older than us, will be physical too," suggests Idah.

"It doesn't mean that we'll be changing our game. Stephen has been great to work with and he'll want us going out to win the match."

Kenny concurs, relieved that, unlike Monday's first game, the temperature will have dipped come the 7.30pm kick-off (local time).

"Mexico, as one of the tournament favourites, will be a step-up for us," he admits.

"They've most of the team with them that finished runners-up to England last season and will be older than ours."

Mexico, having strolled past Bahrain 2-0 in Monday's Group C match, have designs of securing their place in next week's semi-finals tonight.

Only the best runner-up across the three groups would join them.

Ireland U-21 v Mexico U-22

Live, Freesports, 6.30 (Irish time)

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