IRELAND U21 manager Jim Crawford feels that Cork native Tyriek Wright would benefit from going on loan again this season.
Wright spent last season with League 2 side Walsall and recently signed a new contract with Aston Villa.
Crawford is delighted with the progression Wright has made since coming into the U21 squad and believes another year playing first-team football would help with the former Lakewood player’s development.
“Tyriek is someone I had with the Ireland U18 team a few years ago. I thought he was fantastic with us. We played in a four-team tournament against England, the Netherlands and Belgium and he was excellent. So, I was always interested in him after that,” Crawford said.
“He came in against Wales and did really well. Anything we asked of him, he done it. The tournament just gone in Spain, he was one of the best players there. He was excellent.
“I know he went on-loan to Walsall and he was playing on the right, on the inside channel, he obviously left-footed.
I saw enough in him to think that he could cause full-backs trouble if he could get at them by playing wide left.
“He certainly did that against quality opposition in Denmark and Switzerland. He has excellent pace.
“What really surprised me were his recovery runs. He got back into shape very quickly when we lost possession and something I didn’t have attached with him.
“He certainly gives us something different on his natural side.
“He’s a great pro. Great fella, and I’m delighted a two-year extension with Aston Villa. I still think, he could get out on-loan again and sample men’s football for another season and see what happens after that.
“I think he’s got huge potential and a lot of credit must go to Lakewood for giving the boy a real passion and desire for football.
“We talk about developing quality players, but it’s also about developing good people, and one thing is, he is a really good lad.
“He wants to learn. He showed that in the games when we were away.
“We asked him to do certain things, and he understood it and took it on board. He’s a great crosser of the ball.
“At Walsall, he was taking set-pieces. He’s got exceptional delivery. He’s got an eye for goal.”
Another Cork player who has caught the eye of Crawford is Jake O’Brien.
The defender has really impressed the U21 manager and was called into the squad for their recent tournament in Spain, but unfortunately, missed out due to injury. However, Crawford would like to work with O’Brien in the future.
“Jake was called up for the trip to Spain. He had just played a final for Crystal Palace, a promotion final.
“He injured his ankle. He had a badly swollen ankle. I would have loved to have seen him. He’s involved at the moment with Palace’s first team.
“He certainly another centre-back that we will be keeping an eye on. I did hear through the grapevine, that he was gutted he got injured.
I think, it would have been a wonderful way to cap what was a fine season for him, to come in with the 21s, and of course, he would have played.
“Look, I’ve got contacts at Crystal Palace and they are really happy with his progress at the moment. He’s certainly someone that is on the radar.”
Ethon Varian was another player to have received a call-up to the U21 squad. The Greenwood schoolboy has recently signed for Scottish Championship club Raith Rovers and is a player Crawford will be monitoring.
“Ethon was injured for the last camp. Ethon was playing out wide with Stoke’s 23s as well as up top.
“I was looking at him as a central striker. He came to Wales, and he done well. I know he only came on the last five minutes or so but I know Ethon, I had him in a home-based group.
“For him to go over to Stoke, it was a long contract. He’s definitely developed the other side of his game, his holdup play.
“I would have liked to have seen him in Spain when we were up against teams from pot one and pot two, high-quality teams, to see how he would cope.”
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