SATISFIED at his performance in last Thursday night’s “Fans’ Forum” in the Derry City Social Club, Brandywell boss, Declan Devine, expressed his delight for the trio of youngsters who had been called up for international duty this week.
And while his first team continues to battle its way out of a losing run of results, Devine said the progress of his young players proved to be “great positives” for the club itself.
“For me it’s been a very pleasing weekend when I consider the fact that we have no fewer than three players with the potential of featuring in international matches this week - that’s a fantastic advertisement for Derry City Football Club,” he maintained.
Striker, Michael Duffy, travelled to Brussels to face Belgium in a European Under-21 Championship game last night for N. Ireland while Barry McNamee was also called into Noel King’s Under-21 Republic of Ireland squad which faced Germany in Sligo, also last night.
Meanwhile, 16 years-old Joshua Tracey flew out with the N. Ireland Under-19’s for a friendly fixture against Austria and, of the three, Devine felt Tracey had probably the best chance of starting a match.
“I think that all three have been presented with fabulous opportunities to push themselves forward in their respective careers,” claimed the Derry boss.
“Josh may be just 16, but I do believe he could be the one to get game time as there has been so much talk about his progress and talent this season.
“It’s amazing to note that while he’s still available to play for the Under-17’s, the N. Ireland Under-19 manager has opted to take him to Austria for this weekend’s international friendly which is fantastic for him.
“But while I think it will have been tough for both Barry and Michael to secure places on the starting line-ups last night in Brussels and in Sligo, the fact that they remain in their international managers’ thoughts is also significant.
“Like Josh, Michael is available for the Under-19’s but he’s been pushed on to join the Under-21’s while Barry McNamee is the only Airtricity League player included in the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad, managed by Noel King and which is dominated by players contracted to cross-Channel clubs,” noted Devine.
“So for Derry City to have three young players all active on the international underage scene is, in my opinion, incredible and it’s also a magnificent boost for our football club.”
Devine also predicted that other members of his current squad would graduate onto the international scene sooner rather than later.
More to Come
“The names of Patrick McEleney, Michael Rafter and, more recently, Ryan Curran, have all been mentioned by international managers following conversations I’ve had with them,” confirmed the Derry boss.
“I take calls regularly from the various underage international managers.
“And I’m happy to confirm that Ryan, Patrick and Michael have all been mentioned in recent conversations with managers North and South of the border.
“Ryan is the latest youngster about to breakthrough into the Derry City first team and while he can count himself very unlucky in the past, as manager it’s up to me to decide when he’s ready and I really think his time has now come.
“There can be great danger in putting a young player in too early, it’s happened in the past and, no doubt it will happen in the future.
“So it’s down to the manager to make that call when he believes the time is right.
“Ryan has given me something to think about having watched him in training and, more recently, the effort and energy he displayed when put on against St. Pat’s in our last home game.
“I believe he’s developing into a physically strong, talented young footballer and I’ve no doubt that his development will continue.”