Soccer

Keith Andrews would be "amazed" if Aaron Connolly doesn't feature in Georgia

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

10:39 11 Oct 2019

Keith Andrews says Aaron Connolly is "ready" to start for Ireland's senior team if called upon over the coming days.

Connolly earned a call-up to the squad after a two-goal showing for Brighton against Tottenham last weekend.

The Galway native has earmarked by some for a start against Georgia on Saturday in the crucial Euro 202o qualifier in Tbilisi.

Whether he starts or even comes off the bench is one we'll only find out on match-day itself.

But Keith Andrews knows a thing or two about Connolly's talents. The player's recent international experiences have been with Stephen Kenny's Under-21 set-up where Andrews is working as an assistant coach.

"Anybody who's seen the Premier League action last weekend would suggest he's ready, he's ready to be involved," he told OTB AM.

"That's the plan. The plan is to get as many of these young players through. Of course, it's a blow to us (the Under-21s) for that single game or this double-header, because we lose somebody who's really, really talented."

He added that he'd be "amazed" if Connolly doesn't feature in Georgia.

"I would not be surprised if he starts," he said.

"I think we'll see him make a debut in the next few days, without a shadow of a doubt."

Andrews continued: "He is a centre-forward, so it would be a big ask to throw him in right from the off as the focal point if it was a one-striker.

"But he always surprises me. He just takes it in his stride - he's got that type of mentality."

Under-21s Progress

The Ireland Under-21s continued their progress on Thursday night without Connolly. After three wins from three in the group, Kenny's side drew 0-0 with Italy to stay top of their qualifying group.

Andrews feels the way Italy set-up was a testament to the Ireland Under-21s' progress.

"[Italy] had three players drop down from the senior squad, just for this game because they paid us a lot of respect," he said.

"They tweaked their formation and played three-strong in midfield. That's something, traditionally, we would do. We would have to err on the side of caution, be very pragmatic in our approach.

"But this [Ireland] group is very, very different. The way they approach games, the way they take information on board. They want to know everything about the opposition and they play with real balls."

Andrews also discussed Troy Parrott's red card last night as well as Adam Idah's performance up front.

He also praised Michael Obafemi's "brilliant" attitude. The Southampton striker has already been capped at senior level for Ireland. But he came off the bench for the Under-21s to good effect on Thursday night.

"He came on and caused a real threat," Andrews added.

You can watch the full chat with Keith Andrews above via our YouTube channel.

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

Aaron Connolly Adam Idah Football Georgia Ireland Ireland U21 Italy Keith Andrews Michael Obafemi Off The Ball Troy Parrott U21

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