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Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021

All you need to know about the Blackburn duo who have just received their first Ireland call-ups

Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams have been handed a chance to impress by Martin O’Neill.

Darragh Lenihan

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Darragh Lenihan has recently returned to first-team action for Blackburn after being out with a long-term injury. Source: Matthew Ashton - AMA

  • Lenihan has played for Blackburn since 2011, when he joined the club as a teenager from Dublin schoolboy side Belvedere.
  • He is originally from Dunboyne in Meath.
  • He made his senior debut on loan at Burton Albion in October 2014 and went on to appear 17 times for the side, who were in League Two at the time. He subsequently made three appearances for Blackburn towards the end of that season.
  • Lenihan established himself in the Blackburn side midway through the 2015-16 season and has been a regular ever since.
  • Now 23, the player has missed much of this season owing to a long-term injury, but made his return to first-team action last month.
  • He has captained Ireland at underage level, featuring for the U17s, U19s and U21s.
  • Lenihan has recently been playing as a centre-back, but can also operate in midfield.
  • Of the prospect of playing for Ireland at senior level, he told The42 in February 2016. “I’ve played most of the age groups with the Irish team so I like to think that I will get a chance someday. That’s the ultimate goal — to play for the senior team and represent my country. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to put on that green jersey some day.”

Source: Elevate Sports UK/YouTube

Derrick Williams

Blackburn Rovers v Hull City - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Derrick Williams was Blackburn's player of the season last year. Source: Rachel Holborn - CameraSport

  • Williams is a 25-year-old defender, comfortable playing across the backline. He was born in Germany to an Irish mother and American father, and spent part of his upbringing in Waterford.
  • After a stint playing for Tramore AFC, he rejected to advances of Man United to join Aston Villa as a teenager.
  • After four years at Villa, he had just one senior appearance to show for it. Williams consequently opted to join Bristol City in 2013, where he quickly established himself as a regular in the side.
  • After helping Bristol City earn promotion to the Championship, Williams joined Blackburn in August 2016.
  • While Rovers were relegated to League One during Williams’ first season there, the defender still earned praise, as he was named player of the season.
  • So far this season, he has made 42 appearances in all competitions, with Blackburn currently top of League One.
  • Williams was also eligible to represent Germany and USA, but previously played regularly for Ireland at underage level.

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Paul Fennessy

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