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Father and son: Liam Kinsella aiming to reach the heights of ex-Ireland midfielder Mark

The pair are working together with the U21s ahead of tonight’s European Championships qualifier against Norway.

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2002 - Group E - Germany v Ireland Mark Kinsella and Michael Ballack during the 2002 World Cup. Source: EMPICS Sport

Republic of Ireland U21s v Norway, 2019 Uefa U21 Championships qualifier, Tallaght Stadium — 7.45pm this evening (live on eirSport 1)

WALSALL’S LIAM KINSELLA made his Ireland U21 debut as a late substitute in last month’s 3-1 win away to Azerbaijan.

Comfortable at full-back or in midfield, the youngster is aiming to follow in the footsteps of his dad Mark — capped 48 times for the Boys in Green and part of Mick McCarthy’s 2002 World Cup squad.

Ex-Chartlon Atletic and Aston Villa midfielder Mark works as a coach at Drogheda United and alongside Noel King with the Ireland U21s these days, meaning he and Liam have been working together of late.

“Obviously, I don’t look at him as Dad during the camp but it’s good to have him around to be able to speak to him during my time here,” said Liam.

“Whenever I ask advice during the camp, I see him as a coach and I’d speak to him like I would any other coach but it’s good to have him around.

“I was involved the back-end of the last campaign and I’ve really enjoyed my time with the squad so far, it’s a great experience. It’s a tight group here and we all really get on so we’re really looking forward to the next two games.”

Leicester City v Walsall - Checkatrade Trophy - King Power Stadium Liam Kinsella is on the books at Walsall. Source: Tim Goode

Mark added: “It is a great experience to be with him during camp. He has been in football since he was eight with Walsall and it has always been his drive and ambition to become a footballer so this is a great moment.

He has done well to go up the levels where he was involved with the U19s as well and now it has led to his call-up to the Under-21s. I’m fortunate enough to be involved with the team as well at an international level which I’m really enjoying.

“Noel rang me up and spoke to me about Liam and then went to watch him. He said he was good enough to be involved with the squad which is absolutely fantastic.”

Source: FAI TV/YouTube

With maximum points from their opening two qualifiers (against Kosovo and Azerbaijan), Ireland host Norway at Tallaght Stadium this evening. The home side will be aiming to keep their 100% record intact against opponents who arrive in Dublin with one draw and two defeats so far.

King has stuck with the same panel of players that earned victory in Baku as well as adding Aston Villa’s Jake Doyle Hayes, Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Dessie Hutchinson and Trevor Clarke of Shamrock Rovers, while QPR winger Olamide Shodipo and Chesterfield midfielder Connor Dimaio were due to return.

However, Clarke, Shopido and Doyle Hayes were ruled out through injury by the FAI last night.

This double-header sees Ireland take on Israel at the same venue on Monday (3.30pm). Tickets, priced at €10 for adults and €5 for children/students/OAPs, are available at the ground, while entry is free for FAI season ticket holders, Shamrock Rovers season ticket holders and IT Tallaght students.

“It’s going to be a tough test but it’s one we’re all looking forward to,” said King. “We’ve started the campaign really well and you can sense that the players are really looking forward to getting back on the pitch.

“Norway are a really good side who have won a bronze medal in the U21s European Championships before and they’ve beat us but I’ve no doubt that we can get a positive result against them.

I’m looking forward to this game as much as any game I’ve ever been involved in with the U21s and don’t rule out this group of players. We’ve got plenty of talent in the group and there is plenty of confidence as well.

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“Norway are going to be a strong, physical side who can play it long and short, they like to mix it up, so they will present us with problems. They’re seeded higher than us but we’ve got to focus on ourselves.”

Republic of Ireland U21 squad for Norway and Israel qualifiers 

Goalkeepers: Kieran O’Hara (Manchester United), Liam Bossin (Nottingham Forest).

Defenders: Danny Kane (Huddersfield), Ryan Sweeney (Stoke City, on loan at Bristol Rovers), Shaun Donnellan (West Bromwich Albion, on loan at Walsall), Declan Rice (West Ham United), Corey Whelan (Liverpool), Ryan Delaney (Burton Albion, on loan at Cork City).

Midfielders: Josh Cullen (West Ham, on loan at Bolton Wanderers), Harry Charsley (Everton), Conor Shaughnessy (Leeds United), Liam Kinsella (Walsall), Jake Mulraney (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Connor Ronan (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Connor Dimaio (Chesterfield), Rory Hale (Galway United), Dessie Hutchinson (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Attackers: Reece Grego Cox (QPR), Ryan Manning (QPR), Ronan Curtis (Derry City), Joe Quigley (Bournemouth, on loan at Newport County).

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