NOEL King will hand the next generation of Irish hopefuls a chance to impress today as a fresh crop of U21 players prepare for their debuts, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.
With the start of the next European Championship qualifying campaign still months away, King has been able to arrange two U21 friendlies, Ireland taking on the USA today (2pm) and then face Russia on Monday, both games taking place in Marbella.
"We have a squad of 22 and we will use everyone in the two games, so lads like Glen Rea (Brighton) and Matty Hamilton (Wigan) will get to play for us for the first time," King said.
"Some of the lads are really on form, Danny Rogers is doing well with Dumbarton and this will be a good test for us. We have two tough games I want us to have a test, there's no point in playing teams you beat easily, I hope we can learn a lot from playing the USA and Russia," King added. Dylan Connolly and Lee Desmond suffered knocks in training and will miss today's game.