SHANE Lowry is reaping the benefits of regular first-team football with Sheffield United, manager Micky Adams claimed, after congratulating the defender on his call-up for a training camp designed to assess potential Australia internationals.
Lowry, on loan from Premier League club Aston Villa, returned to England on Saturday after spending a week in Germany working with the Socceroos’ technical director Han Berger.
“When Shane first came here he’d spent a while in the reserves,” said Adams. “So it took him a while to get his edge back.
“But now he has, I think he’s showing the potential he’s got and getting selected by his country to take part in this with them is a testament to that.
“There’s still a lot of areas where he can improve – that’s inevitable for someone his age – but he should take a lot of pride and credit from the fact he’s been noticed.”
Lowry’s partnership at centre-half with fellow youngster Matthew Lowton laid the foundations for United’s success over Leeds earlier this month.
The 21-year-old has twice represented the Republic of Ireland at under-21 level but now seems destined to pursue an international career with Australia instead.
Adams said: “Finding a genuinely left-sided defender can be tricky but Shane is one of those.
“Now he’s got games under his belt with us I think he’s looking much sharper and, because of that quality, I think he gives us a good balance.”
Meanwhile, beaten A-League grand finalists Central Coast Mariners have been dealt a huge blow following confirmation that midfielder Patricio Perez has returned to Argentina for compassionate reasons.
Mariners, United’s Australian sister club, hoped the former under-20 international would sign an extended deal at Bluetongue Stadium.
But coach Graham Arnold, whose side lost 4-2 on penalties to Brisbane Roar, said: “We were looking forward to having Patricio around for the next two seasons because he’s been fantastic for us .
“But it can be hard for some players to settle in a foreign place, particularly when there are language barriers and homesickness issues involved.”
Meanwhile, United season- ticket-holders can claim a free pass for next week’s FA Youth Cup semi-final second leg tie against Aston Villa either in person at the Box Office or by telephoning 08719951889.
John Pemberton’s side enter Wednesday’s contest (kick-off 7pm) boasting a 1-0 lead.