Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland U21s: Steve Beaglehole could have just one game to go

Steve Beaglehole has one more match to take charge of — his Northern Ireland Under-21 side face Serbia on November 15 in a Euro 2013 qualifier.

But will he be calling the shots or will he be forced to walk the plank like the man who brought him onto the international stage?

The Leicester City coach was appointed manager of Northern Ireland's Under-21 and Under-19 teams in June 2008 but Worthington’s resignation this week leaves him in limbo.

His position will be reviewed shortly but it seems likely that a new manager will want to bring in his own team.

Beaglehole has brought enthusiasm and energy to his role of uncovering Northern Ireland's stars of the future, but as young players who hold Irish passports can now declare for the Republic of Ireland, the pool of talent to select from has just got smaller.

It’s a battle for hearts and minds with some of the Ulster-based talent but English youngsters with family connections have been brought into the fold.

Oliver Norwood, Lee Hodson and Josh McQuoid have progressed into the senior panel of late.

There are some good players coming through the ranks, such as under-19 captain Josh Carson, currently honing his skills at Ipswich, who is a very promising talent.

“There is a special bond and the young players can also see that the Under-21 and Under-19 panels can act as a springboard for senior recognition, so we have an advantage there, a selling point,” said Beaglehole.

l In the Victory Shield, Northern Ireland's Under-16s lost 3-1 to their English counterparts.

Jamie McDonagh scored an equaliser for the boys in green, but two second half goals from Mason Bennett gave England the win.

Belfast Telegraph


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