Ireland should not cap young English-born midfielder Luca Connell yet according to Ireland U21 coach Keith Andrews.
Connell has represented Ireland at U17, U18 and U19 level but remains eligible for England having been born in Liverpool and not yet representing Ireland in a competitive senior match.
Connell was surprisingly included in Mick McCarthy’s latest squad and has been training with the Ireland squad in Faro, Portugal this week ahead of European Championship qualifiers against Denmark and Georgia next month.
Andrews, who coached Connell at underage level for Ireland, said that he would not cap Connell next month simply as a means to settle his international future.
“I wouldn’t [cap him] unless he deserves it in training”, Andrews told Friday’s OTB AM.
Despite being hesitant to rush capping the Liverpool-born midfielder, Andrews added that he has been very impressed with Connell’s performances this season.
“If you look at what he’s achieved this season under very difficult circumstances at Bolton he’s shone and at the games I have seen he’s stood up to be counted. He shows a real maturity about how he wants to go and play the game. His contract is up at Bolton so I say he would be off now.”
“He’s a very bright talent. He's a lovely young man and he's clearly a talented player who has developed well over the last couple of years.”
“He’s a central midfielder that links up play very well. He plays with his head up and looks to pass forward. He has nice balance too, being a left footer.”
Kevin Kilbane also made the point on Thursday's OTB AM that Ireland should not cap Connell just to ensure his future allegiance to Ireland.
In addition, Curtis Fleming joined Thursday's show to give an insight into the Bolton youngster and and had high praise particularly for the midfielder's distribution ability and physicality.