Wearen gets Ireland call

Eoin Wearen has been named in Republic of Ireland's squad for their upcoming UEFA European Under-19 Championship Elite Round qualifying matches.

The Irish will take on mini-group hosts Poland, Ukraine and Italy between Tuesday 24 May and Sunday 29 May, with the winners going forward to this summer's final tournament in Romania.

Having successfully come through a Qualifying Round group that also included Serbia, Bulgaria and Luxembourg, Wearen and his international team-mates have warmed-up for the Elite Round by playing friendly matches in Croatia and Cyprus.

"It's a group that contains Italy, Poland and Ukraine, so it's anybody's group, but we're confident that we've got the squad to cause an upset," Wearen confirmed.

Ireland kick-off their Elite Round by facing Poland in Koszalin on Tuesday 24 May before taking on Ukraine in the same venue on Thursday 26 May and Italy in Kolobrzeg on Sunday 29 May.

The Academy midfielder has recently returned to the international fold after enjoying a productive season with West Ham United. The 18-year-old has made five reserve-team appearances and turned out 15 times for the club's youth team in league and cup.

As a proud Irishman, Wearen has also enjoyed sharing the same Chadwell Heath training ground as national-team captain Robbie Keane. The youngster was fulsome in his praise of his fellow Dubliner, explaining that the 30-year-old has national hero status in his homeland.

"It's always nice to have one of your country's legends at the club and we all look up to him. As soon as we heard he was coming to the club, we knew it would be good for myself and every other Irish person involved with the club.

"To be honest I can't tell you just how highly thought of he is in Ireland. When we go to watch Ireland play, he is the one player we know will always go onto the pitch and give us a chance of winning games, so he is a big player for us."

While Wearen has his own international duty to fulfil, Keane is expected to be named in the senior Ireland squad for their Nations Cup meetings with Northern Ireland and Scotland in Dublin on 24 May and 29 May respectively.