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Inter's 20-year-old defender Ryan Nolan 'on standby' as Kenny picks Ireland squad

The Clare-born defender was a notable omission from Stephen Kenny’s U21 squad today.

Nolan is captain of Inter's Primavera youth team.
Nolan is captain of Inter's Primavera youth team.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

STEPHEN KENNY HAS explained the absence of promising Inter Milan defender Ryan Nolan from his U21 squad to face Luxembourg later this month, outlining that the defender is currently on standby.

The Ireland manager today unveiled the 22-man panel who will take on Luxembourg at Tallaght Stadium on 24 March, in what will be Ireland’s first qualifier for the Uefa U21 European Championships.

Nolan, who was born in Clare, joined Inter in 2015 having been scouted by the Italian giants after moving to Spain.

The central defender made his senior debut last summer during a pre-season game against Swiss side Lugano and signed a new two-year contract extension in August. He is currently captain of Inter’s Primavera youth team.

Last month he was called into Luciano Spalletti’s match-day squad for the first leg of Inter’s Europa League last-32 game away to Rapid Vienna, but has yet to make his senior competitive debut for the Nerazzurri.

“He is on standby for this team at the moment,” Kenny explained on Wednesday. “Ryan is on standby and is obviously a talented defender.

gettyimages-1073798440-594x594 Nolan tackles Dublin-born Tottenham striker Troy Parrott during a Uefa Youth League game in November. Source: Getty Images

“He has been in with the U18s previously and I think he is a traditional ‘number 5′, if you like. He is a very, very good defender.”

The Ireland U21 manager explained that he had chosen impressive Exeter defender Dara O’Shea for this month’s qualifier, clarifying that there would be opportunities throughout the year for all available underage players.

We’ve gone with Dara O’Shea, who’s in that bracket,” Kenny said. “We’ve had different types of defenders in the group but Dara O’Shea has emerged as the leading contender in that type of player.

“He has played nearly 30 games for Exeter in League Two and has excelled in League Two. West Brom are very happy with him and he seems to have a future there. Ryan is on standby for this squad.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that one player has done better than others,” Kenny added when asked about the performance of his initial home-based squad, which took on the Irish Amateurs in a friendly last month.

Fulham v Exeter City - Carabao Cup - Second Round - Craven Cottage Kenny has been impressed with West Brom defender Dara O'Shea, who has featured regularly on loan with Exeter this season. Source: Nigel French

“Maybe it’s that a certain position has greater opportunities sometimes and it’s about the blend and balance in the squad, which is very important.

“There are a lot of players that did well in that camp that are not in this squad. I think that’s the nature of it. There are 11 games with the U21 squad this year, which is unprecedented.

“Minimum 11 games, so anyone that wasn’t selected for this squad, we will certainly be monitoring their progress with a view to being involved in the U21 tournament in Toulon in June and the six subsequent qualifiers after that.

“So this is a squad in mind for the first qualifier against Luxembourg, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of flexibility to change over the year, because I’m sure there will be changes based on form and availability.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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