Republic of Ireland 2 - 0 Slovenia | 2017 - UEFA Under 21 | 999942987

UEFA Under-21 Championship | Regional Sports Centre , Waterford
2 Sep 2016 19:30

Republic of Ireland 2 - 0 Slovenia

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King looking for U21 victory over Slovenia at RSC

REPUBLIC of Ireland U21 Head Coach Noel King is hoping his squad can finish their qualifying campaign as well as they started it when they host Slovenia at the RSC, Waterford, tomorrow (7.30pm).
1st Sep 2016

King’s side began the campaign with three successive victories but defeats by Italy, Lithuania and Slovenia have ended their chances of reaching the play-offs.

The Irish boss will bid to bed in some new faces while maintaining the balance with some of his more experienced squad members.

“We’ve had some very good performances in the campaign but we’ve also been erratic. It’s been a story of a few highs and a few lows and players are always coming in and going out for a variety of reasons but that’s the nature of the job,” said King.

“There is a bit of a buzz around the squad with a lot of new talent in. They have brought a bit of excitement. Every player is looking forward to the game and they all want to play but unfortunately that isn’t possible. We are looking to secure the three points.

“Courtney Duffus has done very well. He has trained very well. He’s a big strong centre-forward with pace and he’s been with Everton for the past few years. He’s one of two brothers at the club. He’s shown up well in training.

“Another new face is Olamide Shodipo. He’s a talented winger and has been doing well at QPR. He too has been very bright in training who always wants the ball. He’s tricky and quick. If he’s half as good as he looked in training I think he’ll be terrific.

“Jake Mulraney is a very similar situation and has also settled in well. Kevin Toner also has shown up well and brings very good defensive qualities.”

King is also very pleased to have centre-back Tommie Hoban back in action after a lengthy injury battle. The defender recently completed a loan move from Watford to Blackburn Rovers.

“It is obviously a boost to everybody that Tommie is back as captain. He’s been away a long time and everybody is always very comfortable when we have him at heart of the defence,” added King.

“It was great to see he got the opportunity to get game time with his move to Blackburn Rovers and got man of match in his first game.”

After this game the Ireland U21s have two fixtures against Serbia. The sides meet in Novi Sad next Tuesday, September 6, and then in Waterford on October 7.