Northern Ireland under-16s boys’ squad are set for a triple-header of matches in England this week.
The 20-strong panel, led by coach Michael McClean, set off for Manchester at the weekend to gear up for matches against Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley.
As part of the Irish FA’s Elite Player Development Programme the camp is key preparation for the Victory Shield later this year.
The week kicks off with a test against City’s 2008 squad on Monday evening at the Etihad Campus (1930 kick-off). On Wednesday afternoon Blackburn Rovers Academy is the venue as the U16s face the EFL Championship club’s 2008 group (noon kick-off). Then it’s back to another Premier League outfit for the third and final game when they go head-to-head with Burnley at the Clarets’ academy on Saturday morning (1100 kick-off).
The players will be exposed to some of the best emerging talent in the UK and beyond and it’s crucial we, as coaches and players, experience such games and occasions
McClean, Irish FA JD Academy Pathway Coach, said: “This camp is an important part of our young players’ development. The games will challenge them as they face high-level opposition while also gaining invaluable experience against different playing styles. The camp will also be a good opportunity for the squad to come together again as they prepare for international games coming up in the next few months.”
Andy Waterworth, Head of Elite Player Development, added: “The players will be exposed to some of the best emerging talent in the UK and beyond and it’s crucial we, as coaches and players, experience such games and occasions.
“We have a very talented group coming through and they will enjoy every aspect of this camp – on and off the pitch. Likewise, I’m sure our opponents will enjoy watching the very best of Northern Ireland.”
Monday 7 August: Northern Ireland U16s v Manchester City 2008s (1930 ko)
Wednesday 9 August: Northern Ireland U16s v Blackburn Rovers 2008s (1200 ko)
Saturday 12 August: Northern Ireland U16s v Burnley 2008s (1100 ko)
Northern Ireland U16s squad
Goalkeepers: Odhran Patton (Derry City), Zak Robinson (Linfield)
Defence: Noah McConnell (Linfield), Darragh McCann (Glentoran), Leon Barr (Crusaders), Aron KC (Derry City), Callum Anderson (Linfield), Jayden Charnley (Glentoran).
Midfield: Jack Faloona (Glentoran), Christian Coyle (Bohemians), Troy Savage (Castle Juniors), Callum Downey (Derry City), Glenn McCourt (Derry City), Matthew Burns (Coleraine).
Attack: George Feeney (Glentoran), Scott Hamilton (Linfield), Kalum Thompson (Linfield), Oli Devlin (Derry City), Céadach O’Neill (Linfield).
Main image: George Feeney in action for Northern Ireland