Derrick Williams added to Irish U21 squad ahead of Hungary and Italy tests
Republic of Ireland U21 team manager Noel King has added Aston Villa's Derrick Williams to his squad for the forthcoming UEFA Championships qualifiers against Hungary and Italy.
The Irish meet Hungary in KecskemÃ©t on Thursday before travelling to the south of Italy to meet the Italians in Casarano on Monday.
Williams, 19, has been on the bench for Villa recently and is the latest member of the Irish U19 side that reached the UEFA Championships semi-finals last year to progress to U21 level.
Wolves winger Anthony Forde was drafted over the weekend for the first time at U21 level while Jeff Hendrick (Derby) Sean Murray (Watford), Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa), John Egan (Sunderland) and Aaron McCarey (Wolves) were also in the same U19 squad in Romania last year.
King's charges can still claim second place in Group Seven with a victory in both those games - but need to complete the first step by beating the Hungarians in their first game.
Ireland beat Hungary 2-1 in Sligo in August last year in their opening game of the campaign.
James Collins, Conor Clifford, Niall Canavan and Sean Scannell out were all withdrawn from their original squad for a variety of reasons King is very pleased with the quality he has with him in Hungary.
"You lose some and gain some. I'm very happy with the players we have here," said King. "The mood is very good - it's a very talented group. They seem very focused on getting three points on Thursday.
"Youâ€™ve never sure what kind of team Hungary will put out and whether theyâ€™ll change things around looking towards the next campaign or whatever theyâ€™re doing. We have to be prepared for whatever we face.
"Itâ€™s encouraging to know weâ€™ve beaten them already but itâ€™s a whole new game and weâ€™ll see what we can do."
The weather in Hungary is more humid than the Irish are used to but King is confident that his side will be prepared for the challenge.
"The heat will be a factor. Weâ€™ve making sure weâ€™ll get the fluids on board and eat properly then in the game itself making sure we donâ€™t give the ball away carelessly.
"Itâ€™ll be down to how we approach it and how we perform. Itâ€™s a very important game for us. We must keep the campaign alive. We donâ€™t want to go to Italy with nothing to play for. Itâ€™s vital we get the three points."
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