Mick McCarthy says that Adam Idah has put himself “right into our thoughts” with his sensational hat-trick for Norwich in their 4-2 FA Cup win at Preston.
“I’ve watched Adam a lot with the Under-21 side but that is the best I have seen him,” said the Ireland boss of the Cork teenager. “His movement and his goals were brilliant and he really took his chance with Teemu Pukki out injured.
“This was real first-team football as well and the talk now is that Adam could play against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday which really is life in the fast lane for him.
“That’s brilliant for him. He’s put himself right into our thoughts. Terry Connor is planning to watch him against United on Saturday and we will watch with interest.”
But while the young gun has been grabbing the headlines, McCarthy also had encouraging words for Shane Long, an Irish striker of rather more experience but, in recent times, limited opportunity.
Now back in favour at Southampton, Long got on the wrong side of VAR on Saturday with a disallowed goal in the Saints’ Cup win against Huddersfield..
McCarthy said: “I texted Shane after the game with my comments about bloody VAR! I think his toe was offside and he joked that he should have worn size 5 boots!
The good thing is that Shane took the ‘goal’ really well and I saw it for the finish it was. He’s back in the Southampton team recently and he’s playing more like his old self which is great.
“Shane also had the assist for Will Smallbone’s debut goal so that was an Irish double for myself and for our Under-19 boss Tom Mohan.
“The Cup games presented opportunities for several of our younger players and they took it. Dara O’Shea, Conor Masterson and Nathan Collins all started for their clubs and Jason Molumby continues to impress at the heart of the Millwall midfield.
“Mark Travers kept a clean sheet for Bournemouth in their 4-0 win against Luton. That pleases me because we rate Mark really highly and it was great to see him start.
“Jeff Hendrick and Harry Arter scored for Burnley and Fulham as well and Kevin Long started at the heart of the Burnley defence so it wasn’t a bad weekend for some of the older guys either. I’d say it was a good weekend all round for Irish football.
“And away from the Cup I’ve been impressed with Jason Knight’s progress at Derby County and his two goals against Charlton while Ronan Curtis was in goalscoring form with Portsmouth over the Christmas with Marcus Harness back in their team as well.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy says he has spoken to Darren Randolph and is delighted with the ‘keeper’s move back to West Ham.
“It’s a return to the Premier League and to a club he knows inside out,” McCarthy told FAI.ie.
[quote“Darren has told me he is fully fit again after his recent injury so he will hit the ground running. He is a top-rate ‘keeper and has been one of the standout players so far in our European Championship campaign.[/quote]
“It’s a good move for Darren and that makes it a good move for Ireland ahead of the game against Slovakia in March.”