Although it appeared initially as if Luca Connell was already in the final squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Dublin, Mick McCarthy has clarified that the player’s retention for those games will probably depend on how the Bolton Wanderers rising star performs in Ireland’s training camp in Portugal.
Speaking today at The Campus, the squad’s state of the art base at Quinto Do Lago on the Algarve, McCarthy said that he is keen to take his first close look at the 18-year-old over the coming days.
“He’s had a good season playing in the Championship,” said the Ireland manager. “He’s had fifteen games and there’s a lot of interest in him actually. And he’s been playing in a team that’s been relegated and doing well and being noticed. People have been going out to watch him.
“I’ve not seen him. I’ve seen bits of him on the TV and I’ve had reports on him. I know he’s quite fancied by a few people. So I wanted to have a look at him. He knows he’s coming in for the week in Portugal – unless he rips it up, of course, and he’s top man every day. Who knows?”
McCarthy also said today that Harry Arter’s absence from his latest squad is down to injury.
Looking ahead to the back to back qualifiers next month, McCarthy expressed the hope that his team can build on their winning start to the group.
“Yeah, we do have a good platform,” he said. “You heard what I said about the Gibraltar game. It was a game we had to win and we did. Wasn’t a great game or a great performance. Lots of mitigating circumstances I would suggest but it doesn’t matter, we won.
“Georgia, I thought the lads were very, very good, it was a really good performance. Two good results and then the Denmark-Switzerland game (which ended 3-3)– who knows whether that will help us in the end? But we’ve got to win our games or least play as well as we can. Denmark is going to be a different test for us. But, yeah, if we can build on those points it would be brilliant.”