Belfast Telegraph

Future stars a real treat for NI fans, says Hughes

 

By Steven Beacom

Aaron Hughes believes the Northern Ireland public will relish seeing some of the best young players in the world when the European Under-19 Championship finals are hosted here next year.

The 2020 tournament was officially launched at Windsor Park last night with Irish FA President David Martin declaring it will be a "great honour" for NI to stage the competition from July 19 to August 1.

The home country qualifies automatically and will be joined by seven other nations.

Windsor will be the venue for the semi-finals, final and two of Northern Ireland's three group matches. The Ballymena Showgrounds, Lurgan's Mourneview Park and Shamrock Park in Portadown will also be used.

NI legend Hughes, who won 112 caps and is an ambassador for the tournament, said: "It's fantastic for Northern Ireland to host a tournament of this stature. I am sure fans here will relish the opportunity to see some of the best young footballers from across Europe in action."

IFA President Martin added: "Two years ago we successfully hosted the Women's U19 Euros.

"I believe this tournament will once again showcase Northern Ireland as an excellent sporting venue."

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Tournament Director will be Peter Gilpin, who is highly respected in the IFA and beyond.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill and Under-19 boss Stephen Frail were in attendance at last night's launch alongside former Liverpool, Chelsea and England defender Glen Johnson who is a Uefa Ambassador.

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