Wednesday 26 October 2016

King's young guns ready for clash with England

Noel King
Noel King

IRELAND'S batch of lower-league hopefuls face up to an all-star cast in an U21 friendly international today.

But former West Ham man Seán Maguire maintains that the boys in green can stand up to Gareth Southgate's big names. The Irish U21s play Southgate's outfit in a friendly played behind closed doors at the English FA's training HQ at St George's Park today (3pm), Southgate able to call on players like John Stones, Harry Kane and Saido Berahino while Noel King's Irish panel are at another level.

"Some of the lads in this England U21 team are good enough to play for the senior side," says Waterford lad Maguire, who scored his first goal at U21 level in Monday's 2-1 defeat to the England C team.

"They have Premier League regulars and most of us play in League One or League Two. But I saw how well we played in spells in the game on Monday, we will be well-organised and I know we will give them a game. We certainly won't fear them, no matter how many big names they have," he added.

Ex-Waterford United man Maguire is one of the few Irish U21 players with a taste of the Premier League as he had a two and a half year spell with West Ham. His contract now expired he's a free agent and, having enjoyed a successful loan spell with Accrington Stanley last season, he hopes to catch the eye and earn a move.

"There have been a few clubs interested already and maybe a move to a League One club could be good for me, but this game today is a bit of a shop window, we've been told the FA will have 500 guests there so there are bound to be some managers there."

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