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Andy Crosby keen to build on solid start with Northern Ireland Under 21s

 

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Under-21 boss Andy Crosby

Under-21 boss Andy Crosby

Under-21 boss Andy Crosby

Caretaker manager Andy Crosby says there is no better time to be in charge of the Northern Ireland Under-21 side.

Crosby is in the hotseat following Ian Baraclough's promotion to the senior set-up and word from the camp is that the mood remains positive under the new boss, who was delighted with his side's 2-0 victory in Malta on Friday, ahead of tomorrow's Euro 2021 qualifying clash with group leaders Denmark at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

Northern Ireland are fourth in the table, 10 points adrift of the Danes, and, while not giving up on qualification for the finals, all Crosby is focusing on is a strong finish to the campaign.

He says: "I stressed from the first day this wasn't about me taking charge, it was about the whole group and what we wanted to achieve.

"I put that message out through last week and tried to implement a style of play that would win the game against Malta and all the credit goes to the players. They were exceptional and now we are looking forward to playing Denmark, who have very talented individuals and collectively are a very good team."

On the potential of taking on the job full-time, Crosby said: "With Ian deservedly moving up to become senior team manager, the position became available and it was agreed I took over until the end of this campaign and then we will all assess going forward.

"It's a great opportunity for me as this is a really good group and Ian has put together a really good culture. When the boys come together, they all buy into what we are doing and ultimately they want to be part of Ian's senior team.

"There is no better time to be a Northern Ireland Under-21 manager because Ian is well aware of this group and the players. That's the challenge for the players to go on and become senior internationals."

In the Danske Bank Premiership, meanwhile, Reece Glendinning has joined Carrick Rangers from Ballymena United, while defender Seamus Sharkey has left Glenavon.

Elsewhere, Northern Ireland international Laura Rafferty has joined Bristol City on a season long loan deal from fellow Women's Super League side Brighton and Hove Albion.

Her Northern Ireland team-mate Simone Magill was on target in Everton's 4-0 victory at Bristol City yesterday.

Belfast Telegraph