Thursday 19 July 2018

Team ethic the focus for hotshot Idah

Idah finished the qualifying series by topping the UEFA goalscoring charts. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Idah finished the qualifying series by topping the UEFA goalscoring charts. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

John Fallon

As one Irish talisman departs Norwich City, another potential one has started life at Carrow Road with a bang.

Adam Idah has only recently turned 17 but his first season at the club since joining from College Corinthians in Cork went so well he cemented it by training with the first-team squad.

Norwich will be without the guile of Wes Hoolahan next season, as the veteran bowed out only last week, yet the Irish influence that has sporadically shone at the Championship club has every chance of being revived by the budding apprentice.

Scoring a hat-trick on his FA Youth Cup debut against Barnsley certainly helped, as did bagging another trio in a league match against Tottenham.

Big fish at Norwich usually become smaller versions at Spurs, as James Maddison will discover should he make the expected move this summer, but the Premier League club, along with Manchester United, have kept a cursory eye on their Irish recruit, too.

His strike rate at international level has helped fuel the interest. Idah finished the qualifying series by topping the UEFA goalscoring charts, his eight goals all coming in the first four games, and he insists his repertoire is more than just about goals.

That was apparent during the closing stages of the 1-0 win over Denmark in Tuesday's group game which puts Ireland on the cusp of progressing to the quarter-finals of the U-17 European Championship.

Coming under increasing pressure from Danish set-piece missiles into the box, Idah was back in his box clearing the danger.

"Scoring so many goals in qualifying definitely boosted my confidence but I can't score in every game," he contended ahead of the concluding match against Bosnia-Herzegovina today when a draw will set up the last-eight tie with Holland on Monday.

"It's a team game. Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane wished us the best in the dressing-room after the Denmark match but they were speaking to all of us, not individuals."

Idah, who cites Robbie Keane as the Ireland player he idolised growing up, scored the winner against today's opposition when the nations met 12 months ago at the finals in Croatia. Defeat would send Ireland home early.

"Bosnia are fighters and they'll play right to the end," warned O'Brien about a side that also beat Denmark and lost to group victors Belgium. "They have a couple of quality players so if we don't prepare right they'll hurt us."

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