‘It’s there for us’ – Jim Crawford thinks Ireland’s U21s can make history in Israel next Tuesday
Jim Crawford has praised Irish U21 attacking pair Evan Ferguson and Aaron Connolly. says his Irish side have nothing to fear from the second leg of Euro qualifiers against Israel next week.
erguson (17) scored his first goal at U21 level, a second-half header that earned Ireland a 1-1 draw for the first leg of their qualifying tie against Israel, the winners of that tie qualifying for the Euro 2023 final, Ferguson the hero of the goal but Connolly the man of the match.
“We have nothing to fear going into the second leg in Israel, I told the boys that the most important thing now is to rest and recover, to polish a few things before the second leg, but that’s where for us they tasted and we have nothing to worry about,” Crawford said after the game.
“Overall I’m proud of the players. I thought we were the best team, we created the best chances, it was disappointing to concede when we did, we were on top of the game and that is always hard to take, conceding on a set piece because we are working very hard on it,” added Crawford, annoyed that a call for a penalty, which saw an Israeli defender sent off with 11 minutes to play, was not made. given.
Ferguson (17) scored his first goal while Connolly (22) could have scored a hat-trick, but Crawford was delighted with the pair, particularly Connolly’s attitude who pleaded for his recall to the senior panel.
“It was a great finish from Evan, he’s been scoring goals like that all week in training and it doesn’t surprise me,” Crawford added.
“It was a tough game for him, it took him a while to get going but he had some pure class moments and we should be excited for him, he’s only 17 and scoring for the U21s in a such an important match is fantastic, he has a brilliant attitude.
“Aaron was outstanding, we asked about bringing him in but I didn’t hesitate, once we had those initial conversations and he wanted to come in, he proved to everyone that he loves putting the green jersey, he came so close to scoring in the first half and again late in the game.
“He was a constant thorn in their side, I don’t know how long he will stay with the U21s but if he keeps playing like this he will be back in the senior team.
“He knows well himself that it can’t just be a performance, he has to keep going, to reach the top, it’s not having spells to be a top pro, you have to live being a top pro one day. after day.
“He knows it, he’s aware of it, to admit it like he did in an interview, when I saw the interview it made me think we should get in touch and he didn’t let nobody fall,” he added.