Declan Rice's return a boost for Ireland U21s

Declan Rice's return a boost for Ireland U21s

The Republic of Ireland Under-21s have Declan Rice available for their clash with Azerbaijan at Tallaght Stadium following his successful spell with the senior team.

Rice, the West Ham defender who has also been pursued by England, made his international debut in Friday's 1-0 defeat by Turkey and marked the occasion by producing a man-of-the-match performance.

Goalkeeper Kieran O'Hara is also available after appearing for Ireland in Antalya, while striker Reece Grego-Cox and winger Jake Mulraney are present after completing their club commitments.

"It's a game we're all looking forward to. We had a fantastic win over Iceland last week and that has really built the confidence ahead of this game," coach Noel King said.

"We've had a great campaign so far and we need to keep it up. The squad is looking good. It's great to have Declan Rice back for the game as he has already proven during the campaign what a crucial member of the squad he is.

"We've also had the likes of Reece and Jake join the squad later in the week so we're really confident going into the match."

Ireland enter the match third in Group Five, level on points with second-placed Kosovo but with two games in hand, knowing a win at Tallaght Stadium will put them within two points of leaders Germany.


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