REPUBLIC OF Ireland U21 supremo, Stephen Kenny says he will continue to monitor the progress of Derry City youngster Adrian Delap in the coming months.
The Donegal native was on stand-by for Kenny’s 23 man squad for the opening UEFA 2021 Euro Under-21 Championships win over Luxembourg at Tallaght Stadium in March.
Former Derry City and Dundalk boss, Kenny has already shown he is willing to give League of Ireland players a shot having named EIGHT domestic based players in that squad including the likes of Neil Farrugia (UCD), Trevor Clarke (Shamrock Rovers) and Danny Mandroui (Bohemians) who scored recently in the Gyspies’ 2-0 win over the Candy Stripes at the Brandywell.
And Kenny, who takes over as senior international boss from Mick McCarthy after Euro 2020, confirmed he had also considered Delap for his first U21 squad.
The Dubliner was in the stands at Dalymount Park when Delap started his first match of the season and produced an impressive display on Derry’s left wing in the 1-1 draw with Bohemians on March 8th.
He’s also made a string of substitute appearances which had caught the eye of the Ireland boss and netted his first goal of the season against Finn Harps in Ballybofey before his season was disrupted by an untimely hamstring injury.
He sat out the next six matches before making his return as a 67th minute substitute against Dundalk on Friday night.
Now that he’s back in action, Kenny insists he will continue to keep tabs on his progress as well as any other young Derry player who he feels can make the grade at international level, including those who are currently in the Northern Ireland underage set-up.
“We monitored Aidy Delap as well, we were looking at him,” confirmed Kenny who returned to Brandywell on Sunday to lead the Derry City legends team in the Ryan McBride Soccer Sixes tournament. “He was on stand-by for the last squad and came into consideration.
“He’s not been in the Derry team recently but showed up well earlier in the season. So we’ll keep an eye on him and any other players that emerge at Derry City for sure.
“There are some players in the team that are in the Northern Ireland team but we’ll be monitoring any player and keep an eye on things,” he added.
Kenny, who led Dundalk to the 2018 title before taking up his post with the FAI, takes his U21 side to the prestigious Maurice Revello Toulon tournament in France this summer where they meet China, Mexico and Bahrain and he says it represents a huge opportunity for his players.
He won’t see out the Under-21 qualification campaign but will be hoping that some of the players featuring in his U21 panel will progress to the senior side.
“It’s a privilege for me to be international U21 manager and of course next year, after the Euros, it will be a brilliant opportunity to take over as senior international manager.
“So I’ve got the Toulon tournament in June and six qualifiers in September, October, November. We play in a group with China, managed by Gus Hiddink, Mexico’s Olympic team and Bahrain so we’ll see how that goes and we come back and play Italy, Sweden and Armenia in Tallaght.
“We travel away to Iceland and Sweden and Armenia. We already had 3-0 win and we have minimum 10 games left so there’s plenty of opportunity,” added the Ireland boss.