Shortlisted for the Football League ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award this week, Sean Scannell has now turned his attention to this evening’s Republic of Ireland U21 fixture with Germany at Turner’s Cross, Cork in a friendly (7.30pm).
Having already sampled the thrills of being part of the Irish senior squad he wants to put those lessons to good use for the Under-21’s this evening.
The Crystal Palace striker was just 17 years of age when he won his debut Under-21 cap in March of last year against Montenegro and he ended the season by travelling to Portugal with Giovanni Trapattoni’s full squad.
“I’ve really learned a lot about International football in the past six months and this game against Germany should be another great experience. I will feel more comfortable playing for the Under-21’s this year because, initially, the step-up from Under-18’s was a bit scary.”
“The Montenegro match in Galway was watched by Liam Brady, who had just been appointed to the management team with Giovanni Trapattoni. I tried not to think that Liam was in the stand because I knew it might make me nervous but it didn’t affect me and I enjoyed the occasion.”
The on-looking Brady was suitably impressed with the teen to elevate him into the senior squad for Trapattoni’s first assignment in charge, the training camp in the Algarve.
Scannell made massive advances for club and country last year, adding two more Under-21 caps to his collection during September in the UEFA qualifiers away to Bulgaria and Portugal before featuring in the ‘B’ challenge game against Nottingham Forest a month later.
“Giovanni Trapattoni is a man I learned plenty from when I went away to Portugal, he encouraged me to get into wide positions in attack and stretch the opposition’s defence. That’s what he considered to be my strength, using quickness and pace.”
“Marco Tardelli was also a big influence. He advised me to use my weaker foot for 20 minutes during drills and I saw the benefits. He’s a man with a brilliant track record in the game and I can only learn from working with him.”
The friendly match on Tuesday provides an opportunity for Scannell to lay down a marker for inclusion in the Irish Under-21 team for the upcoming UEFA qualifying series and also to renew acquaintances with Germany.
Meanwhile another Palace starlet has also received international recognition this week. ASE graduate Lee Hills (left) is in the England U19 Squad to face Spain this evening at Bournemouth.
Head Coach Brian Eastwick made the decision to call up the Eagles left back, following an injury to Leeds Utd’s Aidan White.