Mick McCarthy has no qualms about handing Lee O’Connor his full international debut against New Zealand tonight.
With Seamus Coleman suspended for Monday’s critical European Championship tie against Denmark the Irish boss has decided to rest Matt Docherty to create an unexpected opening for the Celtic new bhoy.
A red card on u-21 duty against Iceland has cleared the way for O’Connor who has still to make the bench at Celtic following his deadline day switch from Manchester United.
The Waterford teenager has come through the Irish international youth ranks and has convinced McCarthy that he can take tonight’s test in his stride.
The Irish Independent reports:
“They come in and they are always a bit quiet. They don’t come in and tell me they are nervous, you can tell when you are talking to them and how they are around the lads,” McCarthy said of O’Connor (19). “He’s been fine, he trained on a bigger pitch, not just a small-sided game, and Lee was good. He looks to be settling in. You ask them how they’re doing and they say, ‘Yeah, I’m great’, but you’ve no idea how they are doing until they have their feet in the water.”
McCarthy will field an experimental side tonight with everything geared towards Monday’s match against the Danes where a win will ensure a place at next summer’s European Championship Finals with some matches to be played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Ireland lost out on a place at the 2018 World Cup Finals to Denmark on a 5-1 aggregate after Christian Eriksen turned in a masterclass display in the second leg, scoring a hat-trick in Dublin after the goal-less first leg in Copenhagen.