U19 boss Doolin encouraged by Premier League experience
Republic of Ireland under-19 manager Paul Doolin has admitted that having players with Premier League experience in his squad will provide a boost to the rest of his 18 man selection who travel to Portugal later this month.
Samir Carruthers and Anthony Forde both saw gametime in the Barclaycard Premier League this season, with Aston Villa and Wolves respectively. Carruthers came off the bench against Liverpool on April 7th to make his first team debut, and has been a regular squad member ever since, going on to play twice more. Forde made his debut back in November against Chelsea, and picked up five appearances this season. With Wolves playing in the Championship in 2012-13, Forde may have more chances at Molineux, and can help the club dart back into the top flight.
As well as Carruthers and Forde, Mikey Drennan and Derrick Williams also were included in Premier League squads this season, with both players making the bench for Aston Villa. Watford midfielder Sean Murray also had a breakout season in the Championship, notching seven goals in 18 league appearances.
“It was great for Samir and Anthony to get those games,” Doolin told the Evening Herald. “It’s a big boost to their confidence and it’s good for the other players to see. Samir is a confident lad, you can see that and it’s great for him to be in the Villa first team at such a young age. Once they keep up their progress and they don’t get carried away, it is important they don’t lose sight of how they got here.
“I am hopeful that they can get even more games next season but hopefully they can do well for us in these games in Portugal. It was a good year for some of our young players in terms of how they did at their clubs, Villa had a few Irish lads in the first team squad and on the bench. We’ve seen Matt Doherty and Jeff Hendrick go from being in last year’s U19 squad to being regulars for their clubs in the season just gone, Sean Murray at Watford as well, it’s great to see. And I’d like to think that we, us here in the FAI, have helped them in their progress as the games they’ve played at underage international level.”
Ireland kick off their Elite Round qualifying games in Portugal against the hosts and top seeds on May 26th at the Estádio José Arcanjo, Olhão, in the Algarve. “It’s a big ask for Ireland to get through the last stage of qualification, especially as the first game on Monday week, is against the hosts Portugal,” Doolin said. “You have to try and win your first game in the group and that’s not an easy thing to do.”