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Northern Ireland Under-21 star Liam Donnelly nets move to Motherwell

Northern Ireland Under-21 defender Liam Donnelly will play in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership next season after agreeing a two-year deal with Motherwell.

The 22-year old makes the move north from Vanarama National League side Hartlepool United for an undisclosed fee.

The former Dungannon Swifts prospect also has experience from his time with Fulham and will look to establish himself in the squad at Fir Park this season under manager Stephen Robinson.

The pair worked together with Northern Ireland's underage squad, which Donnelly admitted was a factor in signing with Motherwell, who finished seventh in the league last season.

"As soon as I knew the interest from Motherwell, I was delighted,” Donnelly said. "It’s a massive club. How well the club did last season was unbelievable and I want to kick on with the lads this year and hopefully improve on it.

"I’ve worked with the manager with Northern Ireland since I was quite young. So there were a lot of factors in why I’ve decided to come here.

"There’s a good bit of aggression involved in my play. But I like to play and have the ball. I defend properly when I need to defend but I can hopefully play a bit as well."

A highly successful youth player, winning the 2014 FA Youth Cup with Fulham, Donnelly struggled to break into the senior team and went out on loan to gain experience with Crawley Town before completing a permanent move to Hartlepool in 2016.

Donnelly played over 60 times for Hartlepool, alongside current Northern Ireland keeper Trevor Carson, while he was a regular in the Northern Ireland Under-21 set-up and also made his senior international debut as a substitute against Chile in 2014.

"Liam was a target of ours from when we started our summer recruitment, so we’re delighted to have landed him,” said manager Robinson.

"I’ve worked before with Liam at youth international level with Northern Ireland, so I’ve first hand experience of what we’re getting. He will fit in well here and further strenghten our central defensive options."

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