Belfast Telegraph

Wylie in ‘passion play’ plea for Northern Ireland u-21s

By Stuart McKinley

Alfie Wylie has made a plea for passion as Northern Ireland’s under-21 team attempt to keep their noses in front at the top of their European Championship qualifying group.

If Northern Ireland can beat Denmark at the Oval this afternoon (2pm kick-off) they will stay above Serbia and assistant manager Wylie believes that his team has an ingredient that the visitors will struggle to cope with.

Wylie saw enough in the 1-0 defeat to Serbia on Friday to tell him that the team are more than capable of beating the Danes — who have a few players he knows about.

“Whenever I talk to our players I try to drum into them that we need to show passion in our performances and play like a Northern Ireland team should play,” said Wylie.

“We have a good group of players who played very well with 10-men in the second-half against Serbia last Friday.

“Now we need to match that against Denmark, because they are a good team and they’ll be looking to make a good start to their campaign.

“We know a little bit about some of their players as they were involved at the Milk Cup, but unlike ourselves they don’t have as much of a crossover because they have a bigger pool of players.”

Crusaders winger Stuart Dallas could be handed a starting slot after being drafted into the squad to replace Josh Carson, who has been called up to the senior panel.

“It’s hard for us sometimes at under-21 level to put our strongest team out, with players getting called up to the senior squad,” said Wylie.

“That’s what we’re about though and if they are good enough they should be promoted.”

If Dallas is asked to start on the left then Newcastle United’s Shane Ferguson will revert to left-back.

Portadown defender Chris Ramsey is expected to keep his place in the team, while Preston’s Connor McLaughlin is suspended after his red card in Serbia.

Belfast Telegraph


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