Sheffield United: Blades trio provide international team mate with moral support

Sheffield United trio John Egan, David McGoldrick and Enda Stevens were among those to console Luca Connell when injury ruled the youngster out of the Republic of Ireland's forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:27 am
Updated Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:27 am
John Egan: James Wilson/Sportimage

Connell, aged 18, impressed during a recent training camp in Portugal where McCarthy's squad had begun their preparations for the Group D ties.

But a thigh strain, sustained following their return to Dublin, has forced the midfielder to return to his parent club Bolton Wanderers.

Enda Stevens (left): Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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"He’s made quite an impression on everyone,” McCarthy said. "I saw him saying goodbye to the lads and every one of them gave him a hug; they’ve all taken to him and they’ve been telling him to get off and get himself fit."

Connell is not the Republic's first withdrawal ahead of next Friday's trip to Copenhagen and the visit of Julio César Ribas's side 72 hours later. Preston North End's Alan Browne has also travelled back to England to receive treatment on a calf complaint while goalkeeper Mark Travers has damaged a hand.

Ireland, who have also called-up former United loanee Scott Hogan, lead the way in the race for next year's finals after winning their opening two fixtures. Denmark are third, three points behind second-placed Switzerland, having played a match less.

Luca Connell: Harry Trump/Getty Images
David McGoldrick: Simon Bellis/Sportimage