Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi named in Stephen Kenny’s under-21 squad
Trio of young strikers in line to play against Armenia and Sweden
Southampton’s Michael Obafemi, seen here scoring in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup tie against Fulham at Craven Cottage, has been called up for the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad for the European Championship qualifiers against Armenia and Sweden. Photograph: James Chance/Getty Images
The pair had been included in Mick McCarthy’s extended squad for the Switzerland game but the pair will not now be with the senior squad unless injuries and other withdrawals oblige McCarthy to draft them in as replacements.
“I spoke to Mick and they are available for under-21 selection and on standby for the senior international games,” said Kenny as he named his squad for the games, the first of which will be played in Tallaght on Friday week.
“Troy’s been unfortunate over the course of the calendar year, broke a rib then had a bad tackle and hadn’t been able to play much towards the end of last season but he had a great pre-season which has helped him. He has done brilliantly.
“The fact that he is training with the first team at Tottenham now speaks volumes for his talent. He is being nurtured at the moment and he is flourishing. We haven’t had him at this level, we have selected him but he hasn’t been able to come in so it will be great to have him, great for him to make that step up and great for the Irish public to be able to see him.”
Kenny said he pleased to see so many of his players at English clubs involved in League Cup games this week and he suggested that Gavin Kilkenny is likely to feature for Bournemouth on Wednesday evening.
Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly played prominent parts on Tuesday evening for Norwich and Brighton respectively with Connolly getting a goal on his debut. Obafemi, meanwhile, also scored the only goal of the game for Southampton as they beat Fulham.
“It’s shows progression,” said Kenny, “a lot of the lads have come from the academies at their clubs and the next step is to play in the League Cup and then to establish themselves; get minutes in the league which is not easy but it’s good to see so many of them play last night.
“It is a positive development for them, though, to be viewed as a first-team player. Playing for the first team is a big step for them but sometimes it is in isolation; the thing then is to progress to become somebody who can be considered for selection for the league.”
Kenny has included two Bohemians players squad, Danny Mandroiu and Darragh Leahy, something that will impact on the already disrupted quarter-finals of the FAI Cup. Both Waterford and Bohemians are playing next weekend in the Scottish Challenge Cup and so the former’s meeting with Dundalk is expected to played on Monday the 9th with the latter’s clash with Crumlin United likely to take place a week later on the 16th.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND UNDER-21 SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Gavin Bazunu (Manchester City)
Defenders: Danny McNamara (Newport County, on loan from Millwall), Lee O’Connor (Manchester United), Dara O’Shea (West Brom), Conor Masterson (QPR), Darragh Leahy (Bohemians), Nathan Collins (Stoke City), Liam Scales (UCD)
Centre midfielders: Jayson Molumby (Millwall, on loan from Brighton), Jason Knight (Derby County), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Jake Doyle-Hayes (Cheltenham Town, on loan from Aston Villa).
Attacking midfielders: Jack Taylor (Barnet), Dan Mandroiu (Bohemians), Gavin Kilkenny (Bournemouth), Zack Elbouzedi (Waterford).
Forwards: Adam Idah (Norwich City), Jonathan Afolabi (Celtic), Aaron Connolly (Brighton), Michael Obafemi (Southampton), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur).