Kerr has difficulty forming squad

Republic of Ireland youth manager Brian Kerr is having difficulty in forming his squad of 20 players for next week’s Under-20 four-nation tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

Republic of Ireland youth manager Brian Kerr is having difficulty in forming his squad of 20 players for next week’s Under-20 four-nation tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

Kerr’s difficulties have been created by a decision by some of the clubs to withdraw their players from the travelling party because of club commitments.

Manchester City have withdrawn the six players they had in the original Brian Kerr squad and they have been joined by Sunderland and Stockport County who have also indicated they need players named by the Irish manager to travel to Abu Dhadi on Thursday.

City have withdrawn goalkeeper Brian Murphy, Stephen Paisley, Glen Whelan, Stephen Elliott, Willo Flood and Paddy McCarthy, who is on loan to Boston United, while Sunderland say they need Stephen Capper for a reserve team game and Stockport County want Jonathon Daly for first team duty.

All these withdrawals have not made life easy for Kerr though the Irish manager admits he is still hoping Manchester City may relent and allow some of their players to travel.

"They still haven’t confirmed but I am keeping my fingers crossed we will have some of them with us," says Kerr.

In addition, Sunderland’s Mark Rossiter has withdrawn as he injured a knee in an English Cup game a week ago.

Kerr, however, has so far managed to bring in four replacements. These are: John Fitzgerald (Blackburn Rovers), Joe Kendrick (Newcastle United), Paul Keegan (Leeds United) and Keith Gilroy (Middlesbrough).

But before he leaves on Thursday, the Irish manager will need a few more names before bringing his squad up to full strength.

The Irish are due to meet Korea on Monday next, January 20, and they play the host nation the United Arab Emirates two days later.

Their final game on Friday, January 24, is against France.

So far, the revised squad is:

Wayne Henderson (Aston Villa), Stephen Brennan (Newcastle United), Stephen Kelly (Tottenham Hotspur), Adrian Deane (Charlton Athletic), Michael Foley (Liverpool), Darren Potter (Liverpool), John Fitzgerald (Blackburn Rovers), Joe Kendrick (Newcastle United), Paul Keegan (Leeds United), Keith Gilroy (Middlesboro), Sean Thornton (Sunderland), Eamonn Zayed (Bray Wanderers), Graham Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Liam Kearney (Nottingham Forest), Conor Gethins (Ross County).

Manager : Brian Kerr. Assistant : Noel O’Reilly.

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