herald

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Doyle mulls Irish future

Texas-born Derby star hoping to train with U-21s before deciding allegiance

DERBY COUNTY'S American-born striker Conor Doyle says he plans to come in and train with the Ireland U21 squad -- if he's asked -- before making any final decision on his international allegiance.

The teenager from Texas has made a very good impression at Derby since moving there from the USA last summer, and he's clocked up 10 appearances for Nigel Clough's side, who are currently struggling on the back of a run of one win in 10 games, a run that included a dismal FA Cup exit at the hands of non-league Crawley.

Doyle, 19, is in demand on the international stage as he's recently been back to the USA for two training camps with the U20 national team.

But he's also on Ireland's radar -- his dad, David, is a Dubliner who settled in the States more than two decades ago and was a decent footballer in his own right.



Committed

When Doyle went back to the US for that second training camp earlier this month there were fears in FAI circles that the player would be lost to the USA, but Doyle today said that his mind is still open on his international career and it's still a real possibility that he will declare for Ireland, especially as his dad and his Irish team-mates at Derby are egging him on to declare for Ireland.

"I haven't made a final decision yet, there's still a chance that I could play for Ireland if I am asked," Doyle told the Herald.

"I was away with the US for two training camps but I haven't committed myself to them in any way.

"If the FAI ask me to come and train with them then I'll do that, and make a final decision on my international future after that.

"I haven't spoken to the Irish U21 manager yet but I know that he has spoken to my dad and he mentioned a possible call-up for a training camp and match next month, so if that call comes from Ireland I will, of course, come over and train and see the set-up for myself.

"I know I need to make a decision, I don't want to leave anyone waiting for me to decide, so if the Irish squad ask me to come to Dublin for a look I'd be happy to do it," added Doyle.

His club have had strong links with Ireland in the past, players like Dave Langan and Gerry Daly starred for the Rams while playing for Ireland, and under Mick McCarthy Rory Delap and Lee Carsley both appeared for the Republic while at the club.

More recently Paul Green has been added to the list of Ireland and Derby County players while the club also has a contingent of young Irish players.

"I have spoken to Greeney (Paul Green) about playing for Ireland," Doyle says.

"We also have Mark O'Brien, Jeff Henrick and Ryan Connolly from Ireland in the squad and I'm good friends with them, they are asking me if I'm going to play for Ireland too, so I know that at least someone wants me to play for Ireland.



Drought

"My dad is from Dublin, I've been over to Ireland lots of times on holiday to meet the family in Dublin and I know they'd all be proud to see me wear the green shirt, so I will give it a lot of thought," he added.

Doyle has settled in well at the club since his move last summer, though he is desperate to end his scoring drought after 11 games and no goals.

"I think the goals will come," he says.

"I had a few good chances when we played Preston a while ago but they just didn't go in, hopefully my luck will change.

"We're on a bit of a bad run now, and losing to Forest in the local derby was a disappointment coming after the Cup defeat.

"But we have a good squad and a good manager and I'm sure results will start going our way."

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