Noel King challenges Ireland U21s to prove themselves against world champions Serbia

Noel King has challenged the Republic of Ireland Under-21s to prove themselves capable of competing with the best when they face Serbia in their final European Championship qualifiers.

The Republic's hopes of making the finals have long gone after a run of four successive defeats which was finally brought to an end by Friday night's 2-0 home victory over Slovenia.

Noel King challenges Ireland U21s to prove themselves against world champions Serbia

However, they bring down the curtain on the campaign with home and away fixtures against Serbia starting in Novi Sad on Tuesday evening, when they will face a side which could include several players from the team which won the World Under-20s title in New Zealand last year.

Manager King said: "Serbia are World Under-20s champions and have a super group of players in the 1994 and 1995-born age bracket.

"They represent a huge challenge. Serbian football is on the up. They are at the bar that you judge yourself against these days - Serbia, Germany and that quality of nations.

"We'll try to win the game as we always do. We have our strategy and will prepare for the game in the right manner and see where that takes us."

Noel King challenges Ireland U21s to prove themselves against world champions Serbia

The Serbia side which drew 1-1 with Group 2 leaders Italy on Friday featured nine members of that Under-20s squad.

However, King was buoyed by his team's performance against Slovenia after seeing them strike twice at the death to snatch the win.

He will be without Preston midfielder Alan Browne through suspension, but will welcome back Fulham defender Sean Kavanagh and Blackburn midfielder Darragh Lenihan from bans and Bristol City winger Callum O'Dowda from his involvement with the senior squad.


More in this Section

Mauricio Pochettino wants Tottenham to kick on after late equaliserMauricio Pochettino wants Tottenham to kick on after late equaliser

Foxes paid fitting tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – Brendan RodgersFoxes paid fitting tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – Brendan Rodgers

Ralph Hasenhuttl: It was about time Southampton proved a pointRalph Hasenhuttl: It was about time Southampton proved a point

Even Manchester City would struggle with our defensive crisis – FarkeEven Manchester City would struggle with our defensive crisis – Farke


Lifestyle

It’s the personal stories from Bruce Springsteen that turn his new ‘Western Stars’ documentary into something special, the director tells Esther McCarthy.Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars documentary more than just a music film

Apart from the several variations in its spelling in Irish and English, Inishtubbrid, Co Clare is also recognised by three other names: Wall’s Island; O’Grady’s Island and Inishtubber which surely puts it up there as the island with most names — not counting say Inisvickillane, Co Kerry which has about 33 variations to that spelling.The Islands of Ireland: In search of tranquility

More and more communities and volunteers are taking on environmental tasks around the country. In Clonmel, Co Tipperary, for example, people have united to get rid of Himalayan balsam, an invasive plant, from the banks of the River Suir.‘Bashing’ invasive plants

Halloween has become a consumer fest in recent years but there are a number of ways to reduce costs and waste — and make itHappy sustainable Halloween: Don’t be horrified with the waste at Halloween

More From The Irish Examiner