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Crawford plans on keeping same U21 philosophy

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Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford

SPORTSFILE

Jim Crawford

New Ireland U21 manager Jim Crawford says he will retain the philosophy favoured by outgoing boss Stephen Kenny.

Crawford is honoured by a "whirlwind" promotion to a new position of authority brought about the change at senior level.

The former Bohemians, Newcastle and Shelbourne midfielder had served as U-18 manager before moving to assist Kenny with the U-21 side.

His task now is see through the European Championship qualifying campaign that has left Ireland in with a chance of a first appearance at the finals.

With three games remaining, they are top of the group, albeit with two games more played than favourites Italy.

There is no clarity on when games will be played and Crawford knows he is vulnerable to Kenny calling up key members of the squad, but he has vowed to maintain the approach that brought the team to that position.

"To be the first U21 team in history to qualify would be unbelievable for the country, for the players, the coaches and the association," he said.

"I learned a lot from Stephen as he created a brilliant environment for the players to express themselves and to be creative on the ball. Everybody knows he's about possession-based football."

John O'Shea will assist Crawford and he is looking forward to working with ex-Manchester United defender.

Crawford said: "He loves football, he's passionate about it and he's a deep thinker about football and that's what I want."