Duffy to captain Ireland in Tallaght


Shane Duffy will captain Ireland’s under-21s against the Netherlands in Tallaght tomorrow (1pm) where Noel King will look to get the measure of a new group of players that faces the start of what will be a tough European Championship campaign after the summer.

“It’s a good match for us,” said King yesterday. “It will give us a good indication of where we are although the draw was good for us in the sense that we have no games in March or June which means we’ll get a few more friendlies under our belts before the qualifiers start against the autumn.”

Ukraine invitation

Ireland are in a group that also contains Germany, Romania and Montenegro but after the Dutch, they will continue their preparations against Portugal in Cork next month before heading to Ukraine in June for an end of season invitation tournament in which the Czech Republic and Slovenia will also take part.

This time, he says, the priority will be to get a sense of the options available to him, especially up front where a shortage of out and out strikers may prompt a bit of experimentation.

“We might have to mix and match,” says the manager, “and come up with some sort of formula but we have some good players and if we can get them all in for the qualifying games then we’ll certainly give it a go.”

A little frustration

For Duffy, there is clearly a little frustration at his inability to make a breakthrough at Everton and the fact that he is still with the under-21s at international level a couple of years after Giovanni Trapattoni first involved him with the senior squad.

It is, he says, going “slowly” for him at club level but David Moyes, he says, has provided him with encouragement while telling him to be ready for his chance when it comes.

“It’s a great honour,” says the defender who is hoping to go out on loan to a Championship side over the coming weeks.

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