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'We have to look after him' - Brighton boss vows to protect newly-capped Connolly

Graham Potter says he wants to ensure that the Ireland international has ‘a long successful career’.

He started for Ireland against Switzerland on Tuesday night.
He started for Ireland against Switzerland on Tuesday night.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

BRIGHTON & HOVE Albion manager Graham Potter has vowed to protect Aaron Connolly after his meteoric rise. 

Born in January 2000, the 19-year-old has broken into the Premier League club’s first team this season — scoring two brilliant goals in the recent win over Tottenham.

Galway-born Connolly followed that up by earning two senior international caps for Ireland in the Euro 2020 qualifiers away to Georgia and Switzerland. 

On his debut, Connolly was effective as an impact substitute and came close with a couple of late goalscoring chances. 

While constantly making runs off the ball and providing bags of energy, the forward then had a difficult night after starting in Geneva — as did the entire Irish team — as Mick McCarthy’s side were outclassed by their opponents. 

Connolly has returned to his club ahead of this Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Aston Villa, and Seagulls boss Graham Potter is planning to do everything in his power to ensure that he flourishes for many years to come.

“He’s had quite a couple of weeks, hasn’t he?” Potter said in today’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Aston Villa, as reported by Sky Sports.

He’s 19-years-old, we have to look after him, make sure that he has a long successful career.

“But he was great in the [Spurs] game for us, not just his goals, I thought his overall contribution to the team was really good, pressed well, defended well.”

brighton-and-hove-albion-v-aston-villa-carabao-cup-third-round-amex-stadium The teenager has already faced Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup this season. Source: Andrew Matthews

“And then just for him to get that international debut, it’s fantastic for him — disappointed obviously for him and the Irish boys that the result wasn’t what they wanted.

“But that’s part of life as well, he has to deal with that and it’s now case of recovering him and seeing how he is for the weekend.”

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Ben Blake

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