Republic of Ireland under-21 team manager Noel King has paid tribute to Robbie Brady after Giovanni Trapattoni drafted the Manchester United winger into the senior international squad for Tuesday’s Friendly encounter with Oman.
Trapattoni rang King after the Ireland-Kazakhstan game on Friday evening and requested that the 20-year-old Dubliner be excused Monday’s UEFA U21 Championship game in order to link-up with the Irish squad ahead of their friendly at Craven Cottage.
“The manager did not just call me last night. Weeks ago he put me on alert that it was a possibility and he continues to do so, which is very good,” explained King.
“He rang me again and said he intended to bring Robbie in. He’s obviously conscious of the fact that we can’t qualify for the play-offs now so we’re delighted for Robbie and he goes with the congratulations of the squad.
“It’s nice as he follows James McCarthy in from this group. That’s part of this job – bringing players through. It’s a vehicle for bringing players forward. Everybody in our dressing room – players and staff - is delighted for Robbie and James before him.
“We hope that we continue to send players up to the senior squad.”
Brady became Ireland’s record under-21 goal-scorer on Thursday with his penalty in the 2-1 loss to Hungary. It was his seventh goal at this level and King has the height of praise for the young Dubliner.
“Robbie has deserved his call-up. He’s been sensational for us – as the people of Sligo will testify after his previous performances in the campaign. He sets the place alive and some of his play has been outrageous,” said King.
“He still has lots to learn – he’s not the full article and he’d tell you that himself. The players love playing with him. He’s a great personality. He has a good demeanour and a good manner and he’s a credit to his family. I’ve nothing but good to say about him and I hope he fulfils his potential. It’s a lot coming at a young age for him but he has big shoulders and I think he’s going to be one of our most exciting players.
“Robbie has the chance to go on and play for Ireland for many years and I hope he does.”
Brady sat with the Ireland under-21 side watching an internet link to the Ireland-Kazakhstan game in the team hotel in Kecskemet last night and King can see how passionate the young Red Devils is about playing for his country.
“It’s great that his reaction to the call-up was full of such boyish enthusiasm. We’re all delighted for him. It’s great to see that reaction. He’s always wanted to play for his country – that’s a passion for his and he’s always put his limbs on the line for us,” said King.
“He was in the front row watching the senior game. He has a keen interest and watched every kick. You could sense he was thinking ‘some day I’ll be there’ and three hours later the phone rang and he was.”
Watford striker Connor Smith has been drafted into the Irish under-21 squad ahead of Monday’s final UEFA Championships qualifying game against Italy at the Giuseppe Capozza Stadium in Casarano (5.30pm Irish).
The senior Irish squad arrived into London this morning. The squad did not train today and will do so tomorrow at 11.00 hrs in AFC Wimbledon (King's Meadow).
Robbie Keane, Darren O'Dea, John O'Shea, Jon Walters and Glenn Whelan have returned to their clubs. After his tweet last night, the manager has spoken to James McClean in front of the squad. McClean has apologised to his teammates for his ill judged comments and the matter has now been put to rest.