Saturday 20 January 2018

United prospect Brady snubs Ireland U-19s Euro bid

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MANCHESTER United's Robbie Brady is the latest young Irish footballer to become embroiled in a communications breakdown with the FAI.

Ireland U-19 manager Paul Doolin has left the star player out of his European Championships squad because he has not been able to contact him.

Brady (19) captained the side in the first stage of qualifying in Croatia but when former Drogheda United boss Doolin tried to arrange to bring him in for the elite phase in Poland, the youngster didn't answer his phone or return his calls.

He was involved for United in the build-up to Gary Neville's testimonial, but Doolin says he never got a clear reason for his unavailability from the stylish winger, who is the highest-profile player in the age group.

And after the team qualified in the captain's absence, the manager has decided not to call him up for the tournament proper.

"Robert was called into the last squad and I could answer your question (about why he isn't in the squad) if I spoke to him. I tried to get in touch with him, but haven't been able to speak to him," Doolin said.

"I don't even know why. I couldn't even tell you. I tried to speak to him, I tried so many times before we went. The way it was, forget about it, we went to Poland and it was fantastic. All I was trying to do was find out what the problem was."

Brady's Old Trafford colleague Sean McGinty is on standby for the tournament after he missed out on the elite phase of qualifying because of his involvement with United's Youth Cup winning team.

Another high-profile name who won't be involved is U-21 international Shane Duffy.

The Everton player has been involved in senior squads in the past and is highly rated by Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni, but Doolin has other ideas about the centre-half and has not selected him.

"I spoke to Shane after the first phase after we went to Croatia that I was looking at other players to see who was available," he explained.

"It's probably the manager's choice, some managers wouldn't pick what I picked, the results have shown that it was the right squad. I only want players who want to play."

Doolin's charges will travel to Italy before the tournament's kick-off on July 20 on the recommendation of Trapattoni and his assistant Marco Tardelli.

They will use facilities that have been used by the Italian national team, both Milan clubs, Scotland, Germany and Shakhtar Donetsk in the past in an attempt to acclimatise to the hot temperatures they expect to encounter in Romania.

Doolin's charges kick off the tournament against Greece on July 20 before taking on the Czech Republic and hosts Romania in the first underage tournament Ireland have reached since 2002.

The manager has made just two changes from the squad that qualified, with Southend's Kane Ferdinand and Watford's Connor Smith in for Roberto Lopes and Graham Burke. And while the manager is not making any bold promises about success in the tournament, he reckons Ireland travel with a chance of winning it outright.

"Any fool could say 'we're in it to win it' but that's not how I operate," he said.

"Confidence and belief have to be good. We have a chance, if you get a bit of luck, don't have many hiccups, then hopefully we can get out of the group and after that anything can happen."

Ireland U-19 squad: Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa), Matt Doherty (Wolves), John Egan (Sunderland), Kane Ferdinand (Southend), Anthony Forde (Wolves), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Kevin Knight (unattached), Aaron McCarey (Wolves), Sean McDermott (Arsenal), Conor Murphy (Bray Wanderers), Sean Murray (Watford), John O'Sullivan (Blackburn), Anthony O'Connor (Blackburn), Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen), Connor Smith (Watford), Declan Walker (Wrexham), Eoin Wearen (West Ham), Derrick Williams (Aston Villa).

Irish Independent

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