Spireites striker left out of Irish U-21 squad

ADAM Rooney, three goals in his last two games for Chesterfield, has been left out of the Republic of Ireland's Under-21 squad for a friendly in Sweden on Friday.

Tuesday, 9th October 2007, 9:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th October 2007, 8:00 am

It means he should be available to make Spireites' trip to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, despite the FAI's request that he should meet up with the squad on Saturday in preparation for their UEFA U-21 home qualifier against a star-studded England side next Tuesday.

Stuart Pearce's squad includes Theo Walcott, Matt Derbyshire, Gabriel Agbon-lahor and Michael Johnson and is likely to give Rooney arguably his stiffest test as a player to date.

Chesterfield manager Lee Richardson is hoping that the 19-year-old hit-man may be excused the early link up with the squad until well after the weekend's Spireites match, especially as the prognosis on fellow striker Steve Fletcher's thigh injury does not look good for the trip to Shropshire.

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However, Jamie Ward (hamstring) is back in full training and should Rooney be unavailable, he could come into the starting line-up following the injury he picked up in Chesterfield's 3-1 Carling Cup loss at Bramall Lane in August.

But, with three hamstring problems since moving to Saltergate in January, his manager will be reluctant to rush him back before he's fully recuperated.

Richardson was full of praise for the teenager after his goal spree: "He's a good lad, very enthusiastic, he wants to work and learn.