Republic of Ireland Under-20 manager Gerry Smith has included 10 players who were in Switzerland last week for the European Under-21 Championship qualifier in a squad of 18 for an Under-20 friendly against Italy in Tolka Park on Wednesday, October 29.
This game against the Italians is a vital part of the build-up for the Under-20s’ trip to the United Arab Emirates in November for the World Youth Championship finals.
These finals were originally scheduled for last March but were postponed by FIFA because of the war situation in Iraq at the time.
In all, Smith’s squad for the Italian game includes 12 players who were named for the trip to Switzerland last week as two of them,
Stephen Capper (Scarborough) and Jonathon Daly (Stockport County), were originally named by manager Don Givens but withdrew because of injury.
The 10 players who were part of the 2 – 0 victory over the Swiss in Neuchatel last week are : goalkeeper Wayne Henderson (Aston Villa), Glenn Whelan (Manchester City), Joe Kendrick (1860 Munich), John Fitzgerald (Blackburn Rovers), Willo Flood (Manchester City), Sean Thornton (Sunderland), Paul Keegan (Leeds United), Jonathon Walters (Bolton Wanderers), Adrian Deane (Charlton Athletic) and Stephen Elliott (Manchester City). Walters, in fact, scored the two Irish goals.
The remainder of the squad for the Italian game is: Brian Murphy (Manchester City), Stephen Paisley (Longford Town), Paddy McCarthy (Manchester City), Liam Kearney (Cork City), Daryl McMahon (West Ham United), Mark Yeates (Tottenham Hotspur) plus Stephen Capper (Scarborough and Jonathon Daly (Stockport County).
Smith is delighted to have this game against the Italians.
“This match will give us a chance to look at a few more of the contenders for the Youth finals. We were in Switzerland last week and we saw many of them in action and now we have another opportunity to see a few more,” says Smith..
But the manager stresses that this squad is not the final one which will make the trip to the UAE.
"Any player who is eligible and who is not included in this squad still has a chance of going to the finals.
“I will not be naming the squad for the UAE until a few days after the game against Italy. Only then will we know who is in and who is out,” adds the Irish manager.
Smith will have another friendly (against Paraguay) at home before he leaves Dublin for the UAE finals which begin at the end of November and will run until mid-December.