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'When he is ready to go, he will' - Praise for Irish prospect Farrugia as UK clubs hover

Irish U21s assistant manager Keith Andrews believes UCD winger Neil Farrugia is ready to make an immediate impact in English football.

Neil Farrugia at Irish U21 training in March.
Neil Farrugia at Irish U21 training in March.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U21s assistant manager Keith Andrews believes UCD prospect Neil Farrugia will make an immediate impact on English football, should he choose to make the move. 

Winger Farrugia has been impressive for UCD this year, and has been a regular in the few squads Stephen Kenny has picked since he assumed the role of U21s manager at the end of last year. 

He was impressive in a home-based side’s win against the Irish Amateurs in February, and scored in the 3-0 win against Luxembourg in European Championship qualifying in March.

He was named in the squad heading to the Toulon tournament next week, but a hamstring injury has forced his withdrawal. 

Nonetheless, his performances have been attracting interest. Farrugia spent a week on trial at Manchester City along with UCD teammate Liam Scales last month, and the Irish Sun report that Preston North End are interested in making him their latest recruit from the League of Ireland. 

Andrews is confident Farrugia is ready to make an immediate impact, should he move to the UK. 

“If he wanted to go he is ready to go. I don’t think that would be an issue.

“It’s not a case of lack of offers. He is at UCD and he is a very, very intelligent young man with his head fixed to his shoulders. He is a shrewd cookie. He will go at the right time for him.

“Whether that’s now, I’m not sure. If he elects to go, I think he will do very well. He’s a bright player. He is being scouted every weekend, there are all sorts coming over to see him and he’s been on trial at a number of places.

“When he is ready to go, he will.”

Given his injury, Farrugia will not be involved in a behind-closed-doors match with the Irish senior team at Abbottstown tomorrow. 

“To win would be nice!”, says Andrews of the challenge. 

“It’s a chance to stick your head above the water and show what you can do against senior, seasoned professionals. It’s going to be very, very tough for them. Physically the seniors will be stronger, I mentioned some of our players are on the younger side. 

For that game tomorrow, you just have to go and show what you can do. We’ve given them the infrastructure, so they have to go carry it out and show that it doesn’t faze them. They are certainly very excited about facing them, I don’t blame them. I never got that opportunity so I’m quite jealous of them.

“Since they came in it’s been the talk of the group, it hasn’t been the Toulon tournament just yet; it’s all been about facing the senior team at Abbottstown.”

 Keith Andrews was speaking to promote the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals

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Gavin Cooney

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