Callum O'Dowda: Republic of Ireland Under-21s ready for Italy challenge
Callum O'Dowda is backing the Republic of Ireland to go toe-to-toe with Champions League stars of the future when they continue their European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign in Italy.
Noel King's side will head for Vicenza on Tuesday boasting a 100 per cent record after their opening three fixtures, which have brought home and away victories over Andorra and Friday's 3-0 success against Lithuania in Waterford.
As a result, they sit proudly at the top of Group 2 having played a game more than both their hosts and Serbia, who have each won their first two matches of the campaign.
However, the task is likely to be significantly more difficult when they run out against the Italians and 20-year-old Oxford midfielder O'Dowda is under no illusions as to what lies ahead.
He told FAI TV: "I think we are ready. We have been putting in the performances as well like we did against Lithuania, so hopefully we can do that against Italy.
"We are all bonding really well, we all get on well - we have got a good group here and we have got the best chance to go into the Italy game and get three points there. That would be good.
"We know it's going to be a hard game - the players there will probably be playing in the Champions League in a few years' time - but we are all going to be ready."
O'Dowda will go into the game full of confidence on a personal level having scored his first goal for Ireland against the Lithuanians.