Posted by nickogs20 on May 2, 2008
With the domestic season well and truly in the can, the attention of a select few United youngsters’ will turn to international duty over the next couple of weeks. The UEFA Under-17 European Championship finals kick off this coming Sunday while the qualifying process for the Under-19 iteration of the same event continues apace. There are also Under-21 friendlies on the horizon. Time for a quick look at the United players set to be involved.
With England narrowly failing to qualify, the potential United contingent at the Under-17 finals was always going to be greatly reduced. As it turns out, with Italy, Portugal, Norway and Northern Ireland also missing out, the sole MUFC representative in Turkey when the tournament kicks off this weekend (barring a surprise call-up for Turkish schoolboy keeper Deniz Mehmet) will be Ireland’s Robert Brady. The Republic are in Group B along with reigning champions Spain and strong French and Swiss sides, having scraped through a dramatic second phase qualifying group that saw the four sides involved (including Evandro Brandão’s Portugal) all finish level on four points. Brady will be the youngest member of the squad in Turkey but has featured in each of Ireland’s last five games, including all three second phase qualifiers, and is likely to start on the left-wing (although he has in the past been used in a more central attacking role).
Eurosport will be showing Ireland’s games against France (Sun May 4th, 2pm) and Spain (Sat May 10th, 6pm) both on television and online.
The Under-19 European Championship finals aren’t until July (when they’ll be held in the Czech Republic) but the back end of this month sees the Elite Round of qualifying take place. Among the teams to have named their squads already are England, who will travel to Belarus to face Serbia, Poland and the former Soviet state between the 26th and the 31st. After impressing with the Under-18’s this season, Danny Welbeck is called up for the first time – the latest highlight of his blossoming career. Danny also recieved a boost this week in the form of recognition by England U-21 boss Stuart Pearce as one to watch for the future. Ron-Robert Zieler will hope to be named in the Germany squad as they travel to Slovakia for their elite phase group, along with Albania and Croatia, while in non-competitive action, Corry Evans should represent Northern Ireland on a short tour of Luxembourg.
Finally, Under-21 news. Fraizer Campbell and Tom Heaton have retained their places in Pearce’s U-21 squad for the friendly with Wales in Wrexham on May 15th, although Hull’s likely participation in the Championship Play-Offs may see Campbell withdrawn.