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Friday 15 December 2017

King: Club form key to progress

NOEL King is keen to see his Ireland U21 players get more access to first-team football.

The U21 side opened their qualifying campaign for the 2017 Euro finals with a 1-0 win at home to Andorra on Thursday night and now have a six-month wait for their next competitive game.

Prospects such as Jack Byrne (Manchester City), as well as Ipwich pair Kenny McEvoy and goal-scorer Dylan Connolly (right) impressed this week.

But all three have yet to play for their clubs (though Connolly has first-team experience from Shelbourne) and King is eager for them to have more experience on board when the next qualifier comes around at the start of next season.

"Some of them haven't played for their club teams, some of them have not played for weeks, but that's always the situation," says King.

bench

"Some of them go out on loan and sit on the bench, some of them are on the bench with their first team and don't get in for weeks.

"And some of them do play for the first team and you're delighted when they do that. Lads need to develop and this is the early part of the campaign, September is the next stage for us, and maybe some of the boys who are on the fringes now will have established themselves by then," added King, impressed by debutant Callum O'Dowda.

"I would like to see more of O'Dowda, he has very good potential he is playing first team football and that makes a difference. Darragh Lenihan was excellent at the back for us the other night."

ireland u-21

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