REPUBLIC of Ireland U21 team manager Noel King has named his squad for a friendly international against Qatar Olympic squad in Aachen, Germany, this Saturday.
King has opted to look at a host of new players that will come into consideration for the remainder of the UEFA U21 Championships 2015 qualifying campaign and for the following campaign.
Dagenham & Redbridge defender Jack Connors is included for the first time while Karlsruher SC goalkeeper Justin Merz is also drafted having trained with the U21 squad previously.
“We’ve named a new-look squad for this particular game and we see it as a great opportunity to look at who is coming up next,” said King.
“It’s basically a different age group and it’s always exciting working with players for the first time. I’ve seen them play with their clubs so pleased to work with them now.
“Alan O’Neill liked Justin when worked with him recently so we thought it would be a good opportunity for the lad to come in for a game.”
King is likely to consider many of the younger players for the final group game in this year’s UEFA qualifiers, ironically away to Germany on September 5.
“The German fixture is the last game for this campaign and it’s a ‘dead rubber’ for us so we’ll definitely be looking at the vast majority of that squad with a view of looking towards the next campaign,” he added.
“We had the same situation against Italy in the previous campaign and it helped the younger players adjust to that level. We’re always looking for players to bring forward and ultimately help them progress to senior level.
“There were a number of players ruled out through injuries while Jack Grealish is on tour with his club but it’s not a problem. We’re just looking to see as many faces as possible and this was an unexpected but welcome opportunity to do just that.”
Republic of Ireland squad:
Ian Lawlor (Manchester City)
Justin Merz (Karlsruher SC)
Luke Gallagher (Burnley)
Shane Griffin (Reading)
Pierce Sweeney (Reading)
Kevin Feely (Charlton Athletic)
Mason Watkins-Clark (Stoke City)
Bradley Lewis (Aston Villa)
Jack Connors (Dagenham & Redbridge)
Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers)
Kenneth McEvoy (Tottenham Hotspur)
Michael Drennan (Aston Villa)
Will Hayhurst (Preston North End)
Bradley Garmston (West Bromiwich Albion)
Conor Wilkinson (Bolton Wanderers)
Kieran Sadlier (West Ham Utd)
Jack Byrne (Manchester City)
Brian Lenihan (Cork City)
Saturday, May 24
Republic of Ireland v Qatar Olympic, Aachen, Germany (6.00pm Irish)