King to use his squad in Portugal friendly

Republic of Ireland Under-21s boss Noel King will test the depth of his squad in tonight’s friendly against Portugal.

Buoyed by last month’s comprehensive victory over Holland, King will make changes for the game at Dundalk’s Oriel Park, and that could mean a chance for Aston Villa striker Graham Burke.

King said: “I was delighted with how we played against the Dutch last time out. It was a good performance against a top level opponent and the Portugal game will be a similar test.

“We will have a look at some of the players that didn’t start the last game as it is very important we have a look at everybody at this level.

“It’s good to be able to add Graham Burke to the squad as he’s another attacking option. He has played first-team football with Aston Villa this season and has been in very good form in the Next Gen series.”

Burke was added to the squad when club-mate Derrick Williams was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury.

The 19-year-old was handed a senior debut for Villa by Paul Lambert as a substitute in the Capital One Cup clash with Tranmere in August.

The game could also represent another opportunity for St Patrick’s Athletic midfielder Chris Forrester, the only home-based player in the squad, after he made his debut against Holland.

He said: “I want to play at the highest level I can and proving myself with the Under-21s team can only be good for that.

“I don’t believe there is much difference between the Premier Division of the Airtricity League and Under-21 level.

“There are good players in both, but it is a different style of play and I have to prove myself at that level.”

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