Young to assist Givens


Billy Young yesterday emerged as a key personality in the new structures for the national Under-21 team, when he was appointed as assistant to Don Givens.

Their brief is to raise Ireland's profile at this level of competition in addition to feeding players through to the senior squad in the coming years.

Young, a name synonymous with domestic football for much of the last 40 years, will be responsible for trawling the National League in the stated policy of rewarding the best of the local talent.

His appointment will be seen as an important step in the challenge of smoothing the transition of players from Brian Kerr's successful teams to a point where they are capable of challenging for a place in the senior squad.

Givens, who will continue to live in Birmingham, said he was delighted to entrust the responsibility for monitoring the progress of locally-based players to a man with a proven track record in Irish football.

"Billy Young is a football person who has a wonderful enthusiasm for the game," he said. "I know he watches games on a regular basis and that is the kind of assistant I need".

David Kelly, one of the main contributors to Tranmere's remarkable Cup exploits this season, expects to know this week if he will still be at the club next season.

Kelly, out of contract in May, is to meet with the club's chairwoman, Lorraine Rogers, amid growing speculation that Tranmere's parlous finances will not permit them to offer new terms to one of their highest paid players.

Alan Mahon, the Republic of Ireland Under-21 player, is also out of contract with Tranmere at the end of the season and at least two Premiership clubs, are understood to be monitoring his situation.