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'We always do what’s best for the players': Man City in talks over talented UCD duo

UCD manager Collie O’Neill says Man City have been in touch regarding Neil Farrugia and Liam Scales.

Farrugia and Scales have been in impressive form this season.
Farrugia and Scales have been in impressive form this season.

UCD MANAGER COLLIE O’Neill confirmed Manchester City have been in contact with the League of Ireland club regarding two of their players, winger Neil Farrugia and defender Liam Scales.

Earlier this week it was reported by the Irish Independent that the Premier League champions have invited the talented pair for a trial with their U23s, after City’s Irish scout Mick Collins touched base with both players.

Farrugia and Scales have been in brilliant form so far this season with UCD. Both were called into Stephen Kenny’s U21 international squad last month, with Farrugia scoring in a 3-0 Euro qualifier victory against Luxembourg.

Speaking after his side’s 2-0 defeat to St Pat’s on Friday night where both players played 90 minutes, UCD boss O’Neill said that Man City had been in touch recently and that the Dublin club would not stand in either players’ way should any potential move materialise.

“All I know on it so far is Manchester City have made contact with the club and it’s still ongoing,” he said speaking to The42. ”They made contact with us and made enquiries about the players. Where it’s at at the moment, I’m not too sure.”

Both players were integral as UCD secured promotion to the top-flight of Irish football after winning the SSE Airtricity League First Division last season and have developed even further at a higher level this year.

Neil Farrugia celebrates with Mary Farugia after the game Neil Farrugia scored against Luxembourg during a Uefa Euro U21 Championship qualifier last month. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

O’Neill said it was of vital importance to have his footballers’ best interests at heart, even if it meant potentially losing some of his key players as his side seek to consolidate their place in the Premier Division between now and the end of the season.

“We always do what’s best for the players,” he said. “It will always be their decision. If they choose themselves that they want to go, we’ll happily support what the players want to do.

“Scales is finished his degree course today [Friday]. Today is his last day in the college. Farrugia has another year to go. It will always be the players’ decision.”

“It always happens,” O’Neill reflected speaking about UCD consistently losing key players – the South Dublin club are regularly forced to cope with its star performers moving on to a new challenge.   

“Look at what we had last year. We lost Georgie Kelly during the window. We lost Maxi [Kouogun], we lost Greg Sloggett, Daire O’Connor.

“It’s a conveyor belt – it happens over and over again.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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