Irish U19 stopper Lawlor was last night promoted to Manchester City’s first-team squad for tomorrow’s visit to Plzen. The 18-year-old was due to face the Czech outfit for City in Uefa’s new youth version of the Champions League but Lawlor’s latest display for City’s U21s, at Upton Park on Friday, prompted his manager Patrick Vieira to alert his senior chief.
And Pellegrini has decided the 6’5” Irishman deserves promotion to travel with the first-team today. He’ll act as back-up to Joe Hart and reserve custodian Costel Pantilimon at the Struncovy-Sady Stadium.
It won’t be the first time Lawlor rubs shoulders with City’s expensively-assembled first-team. He was just 16 when Roberto Mancini invited him on a pre-season tour to Austria. A new two-year contract soon followed.
Both Pellegrini and Vieira have so far resisted the urge to allow Lawlor leave on loan as they feel the experience the teenager is gaining from working alongside Hart is more beneficial. At a time when no Irish outfield player features on an English Premier League squad for the Champions League, Lawlor’s sudden elevation represents a boost.