Young Irish duo get first team call
Two Irish youngsters are on a high this week after being summoned for first-team training duties with their English Premier League clubs.
Dublin-born teenager Aaron O'Driscoll has been given a vote of confidence with his inclusion in the Southampton squad for their training camp in Austria, while Ryan Sweeney has been asked to travel to Austria with Stoke City for their warm-up.
O'Driscoll, a son of former Bohemians and St Patrick's Athletic stalwart Maurice, made steady progress with Southampton's academy sides last season but new Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino has also been impressed, and the defender was included in a 28-strong squad which flew out to Austria.
Pellegrino watched his side train in England last week but he is keen to work with his new squad away from home, the first friendly game against St Gallen next Saturday, and O'Driscoll hopes to get some game time.
Defender Sweeney (20) has also gone to the continent, part of the Stoke panel preparing in Switzerland for the new campaign. Born in England, Sweeney qualified for Ireland via the parentage rule as his grandparents are from Mullingar and, previously capped at U19 level, he made his U21 debut earlier this year.
He joined Stoke 12 months ago having made his first-team debut with AFC Wimbledon, City boss Mark Hughes sending Sweeney out on loan to Bristol Rovers last season.