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'I spoke to Darren Ferguson at length and he said he was going to be a key player'

Jim Crawford is tipping Jack Taylor for a bright future, after the midfielder’s call up to the senior side.

Jack Taylor has earned a promotion to the Irish senior squad.
Jack Taylor has earned a promotion to the Irish senior squad.
Image: TGSPHOTO/Paul Dennis/INPHO

IRELAND U21 BOSS Jim Crawford has praised Jack Taylor, after the youngster earned a promotion to the senior set-up ahead of Stephen Kenny’s side’s Nations League clash at home to Bulgaria on Wednesday.

In addition to impressing for the U21 side, the midfielder has been playing regularly in League One with Peterborough, making 12 appearances in all competitions for the English club this season.

The 22-year-old previously made over 100 appearances in League Two and the National League with Barnet, before joining Darren Ferguson’s side at the start of this year for an initial fee of £500,000.

“Jack, we brought him initially in from Barnet and he was playing well,” Crawford recalls. “He was turning people’s heads at that level, he was scoring goals.

“[He's a] real energetic midfielder. And there was always talk of him getting that move, which he got to Peterborough.

“I spoke to Darren Ferguson at length about him and he said he was going to be a key player for him. It was unfortunate that last year was cut short, as they had every chance of getting promoted into the Championship. It would have been an unbelievable journey for Jack.

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“I see a real opportunity for Jack. I said to him with Jayson Molumby moving to the senior team that Jack can come here and play a similar role to Jayson, because he’s got a hell of a lot of qualities. He’s good with the ball at his feet, he’s energetic, he makes good runs into the box and I’ve got the utmost respect for Jack as a player and person. I was delighted he got the call-up to the senior team.”

Crawford is in the process of trying to lift his players ahead of their final qualifier away to Luxembourg tomorrow, after Sunday’s loss at home to Iceland ended their hopes of reaching the Euros.

It was a frustrating afternoon for the Irish team, with the concession of a late goal and a Nathan Collins red card for an off-the-ball incident in the dying minutes exacerbating their woes.

I spoke to Nathan after the game — he knows [he made a mistake], he was bitterly disappointed. He was very remorseful over his actions. He’s got to learn, there is no other way of putting sugar on it, it was a moment of madness, which was very un-Nathan Collins-like. He understood what he did wrong, he apologised to myself, the staff and the players, which I would have expected from Nathan anyway, because he’s a very mature lad. I’ve got the height of respect for Nathan and I’m looking forward to working with him again in the next campaign.”

Despite the disappointing climax, Crawford believes it has been a successful qualifying campaign overall, with a number of U21 players, including Dara O’Shea, Adam Idah and Jayson Molumby, earning swift promotions to the senior set-up.

“I suppose you can look at it and say what is success with the 21s and we’ve had six players now that have, before the end of this campaign, made that step up, which is phenomenal.

“I know circumstances have dictated that too, I know Stephen wouldn’t be shy about putting them on during the game. You want to talk about was it a successful campaign? No doubt about it. The amount of players who have stepped up has been extraordinary and the players do deserve it, because they have been really talented.”

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Paul Fennessy

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