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'There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a backward step' for Aaron Connolly | Football Saturday

Aaron Connolly's performance for the Ireland U21s showed that he could earn his way back into form for the senior side, according to David Connolly.

Aaron Connolly's performance for the Republic of Ireland U21s on Friday showed that he could earn his way back into form for the senior side, according to former Republic of Ireland striker David Connolly.

At one stage, Aaron Connolly was seen as the great hope of Stephen Kenny's Ireland side to break the long-standing goal drought. It did not come to pass, however, and Connolly was discarded into the ether to rediscover his form.

Since then, the Brighton & Hove Albion striker has been on loan to Middlesborough and most recently Venezia, and made his return to Irish international football with an excellent performance for the U21 side in Tallaght on Friday.

While it was far from a performance that will see Connolly feature for the senior squad any time soon, the return to the national setup a step below where he departed shows that he has a maturity to earn his place back in Stephen Kenny's good books.

Speaking on Football Saturday, former Republic of Ireland striker David Connolly was pleased to see how the 22-year-old Connolly approached the game in Tallaght.

He feels that strikers can regain their lost form by stepping down a level and earning a place back at the top table.

"I think you can recapture it," Connolly said. "You look to other countries [about whom] this has been said, the most famous one is in Spain where Juan Mata and Javi Martínez dropped down from the senior squad.

"They'd already won the World Cup and then they played for the U21s with Spain and won the U21 Euros. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a backwards step.

"In England, there is maybe a bit of arrogance that players are too good to go and do that. That's why the Spanish and all the other sides go on and win everything, they don't maybe have the same ego.

"Maybe Aaron is trying to say, 'look, I don't have an ego'. I've seen him on the side, unused, very frustrated, and looking like he feels he should be playing.

"There's one way to go and prove that, and that's by going and starting games."

Connolly's loan is a 'wait and see' move

Aaron Connolly is currently playing in Serie B for Venezia. While the football is encouraging to the older Connolly, it is the 22-year-old's private life that concerned the former International striker.

"My only hesitation for that," Connolly said, "is that if you go abroad, I don't know if he's on his own. I assume he is, but if he has someone with him, I don't know.

"Who is doing the cooking? What is he eating? How is he living? You could get lost. It's not a bad place to go and get lost in, Venice. I've got to be honest, you'll have a whale of a time.

"In terms of his football, I just wonder how that will go, because sometimes you might need some help from the people around you and who know you.

"I'm not saying he needs to be monitored like that. We'll have to wait and see how this loan goes if it is the right one."

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