DERRY CITY’s Christopher Flanagan has been included in the Republic of Ireland U19 squad who take on Netherlands in an exhibition match at Tallaght Stadium tonight.
The 18 year-old Letterkenny lad who plays for the ‘Candy Stripes’ in the Northern Division of the U19 League and Ulster Senior League, is one of just three League of Ireland based players to get the call-up to Paul Doolin’s side.
Ireland are preparing for the forthcoming UEFA U19 Championships qualifiers in November when they meet Malta, Gibraltar and Switzerland so the clash with Aron Winter’s side will be a useful exercise.
And midfielder, Flanagan who has recently progressed from the Republic’s Under-18 panel, will be hoping to impress against the Dutch and retain his place in the squad for the U19 qualifying campaign.
Former Derry City midfielder and Republic U19 boss, Doolin is expecting a tough test and is looking forward to getting a look at the newest members of his squad.
“For teams like ourselves, friendlies aren’t the be all and end all in terms of results,” said Doolin. “We’ve had some of these players in when we played with the U18 team last season against the Czech Republic. We’re trying to get them understanding our system.
“We got the DVD of Holland’s game on Friday against Germany. They lost 3-2 in that one but they were a decent side. They’ve a never manager in Aron Winter and they’ve changed as a team since U18 level when we saw footage of their games from that level.
“We’re looking forward to this match. It’s a good game and the main thing is that we’ve a squad ready for the qualifying round games in Waterford in November.
“It’s not a bad age-group for us, they had a couple of good campaigns and were unlucky not to qualify at U17 level. We also had a few of these lads in an U18 game in Czech Republic with a lot of home-based players.
“We’ve about 50 players we could pick from here, the UK and abroad. You’re looking at players in these games. It’s hard to get a flow from these games but you are hoping to get your point across.
“There’s only 18 players we can use and with only one game there was no point in bringing in too many. We’ve seen a few of the lads are eligible at this age group last year.”
Ireland are also scheduled to play two friendly games away to Sweden in October before kicking off their Uefa U19 Championship qualifying campaign.
Republic of Ireland U19 squad - Liam Bossin (Anderlecht) Peter Burke (Sunderland) Sean Burke (Leicester City) Noe Baba (Fulham) Fiacre Kelleher (Celtic) Kevin Toner (Aston Villa) Dylan Barnett (Brighton & Hove Albion) Shaun Donnellan (West Bromwich Albion) Bobby Moseley (Birmingham City) Connor Dimaio (Sheffield United) Chris Flanagan (Derry City) Harry Charsley (Everton) Josh Cullen (West Ham United) Ross Mann (Limerick FC) Joel Coustrain (Sheffield United) Ryan Manning (Galway FC) Eoghan Stokes (Leeds United) Reece Grego-Cox (QPR).