First Ireland U21 call-up for West Ham winger Oko-Flex as Smallbone returns

Jim Crawford’s side face Italy and Sweden in Euro qualifiers at Tallaght Stadium this month.

Armstrong Oko-Flex.
Armstrong Oko-Flex.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U21 manager Jim Crawford has named a 25-man squad for this month’s Uefa Euro qualifying double-header. 

The Boys in Green face Italy at Tallaght Stadium on Friday, 12 November, before taking on the Swedes at the same ground on Tuesday, 16 November. 

A disappointing defeat to Montenegro last time out means Ireland are playing catch up on their two upcoming opponents in Group F. 

Crawford has handed West Ham winger Armstrong Oko-Flex his first call-up at U21 level. The former Celtic youth player, who joined the Hammers over the summer, began the Premier League 2 season with a hat-trick against Arsenal’s U23s

There is a welcome return for Southampton midfielder Will Smallbone, who was recently back in first-team action after recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament sustained in January. 

Festy Ebosele of Derby County is also included following his return to fitness, while seven players representing League of Ireland clubs feature.  

Republic of Ireland U21 squad 

Goalkeepers: Brian Maher (Bray Wanderers), David Odumosu (Drogheda United), Luke McNicholas (Cliftonville, on loan from Sligo Rovers).

Defenders:  Joel Bagan (Cardiff City), Festy Ebosele (Derby County), Andy Lyons (Bohemians) Oisin McEntee (Greenock Morton, on loan from Newcastle United), Mark McGuinness (Cardiff City), Jake O’Brien (Crystal Palace), Lee O’Connor (Tranmere Rovers, on loan from Celtic).

Midfielders: Conor Coventry (Peterborough United, on loan from West Ham United) Dawson Devoy (Bohemians), Ryan Johansson (Fortuna Sittard, on loan from Seville), Gavin Kilkenny (Bournemouth), Ollie O’Neill (Fulham), Conor Noss (Borussia Möchengladbach), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Ross Tierney (Bohemians).

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Forwards: Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion), Will Ferry (Crawley Town, on loan from Southampton), Joshua ‘JJ’ Kayode (Rotherham United), Liam Kerrigan (UCD), Armstrong Oko-Flex (West Ham United), Colm Whelan (UCD), Tyreik Wright (Salford City, on loan from Aston Villa).

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