Luca Connell is in the Ireland squad 3 months ago

Luca Connell is in the Ireland squad

Born in England. Made in Ireland.

Luca Connell isn't yet out of his teenage years but he's already seen plenty. A Bolton trainee since he was nine years of age, the Manchester club always rated him highly.

The Liverpool born youngster picked up invaluable experience across the pond and it was clear from the word go that he had ability beyond his years.

And the Republic of Ireland were onto him quickly.

It was in August 2017 when they invited to train with the under-17s and the defender/midfielder jumped at the chance. Since, he's played a key role in the Irish under-17s, 18s and 19s progress over the last couple of years - representing the under-17s at last year's Euro Championships.

But he's nowhere near done yet.

On Monday Mick McCarthy named his squad to take on Denmark and Gibraltar in the Euro 2020 qualifiers next month and the Liverpool-born youngster - who broke into the first team set-up at Bolton Wanderers this season - is in the mix.

"Luca deserves this opportunity," said McCarthy as he brings his squad to Faro, Portugal for a training camp ahead of the two Group D qualifiers.

"With midfielders Conor Hourihane, Glenn Whelan and Josh Cullen all on play-off duty with their clubs in the coming weeks, this is the perfect chance to get Luca into the squad.

"He has had a fine season with Bolton playing 15 times in total and even with their relegation troubles, he has impressed so many people. I know a number of big clubs have sent scouts to watch him so this is a chance to get him in to work with the senior players and see how he gets on."

McCarthy has cut his provisional squad down to 27 players, with 23 travelling to Portugal and the play-off quartet of Richard Keogh, Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane, and Josh Cullen set to join up in Dublin before the trip to Denmark.

 

Republic of Ireland Squad

Goalkeepers:

Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Sean McDermott (Kristiansund BK)

Defenders:

Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), John Egan (Sheffield United), Kevin Long (Burnley), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City)

Midfielders:

Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Luca Connell (Bolton Wanderers), Josh Cullen (Charlton Athletic*), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth)

Forwards:

David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), Shane Long (Southampton), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Scott Hogan (Aston Villa), Callum Robinson (Preston North End)