Nine Academy of Football starlets called up for October internationals


Jamal Baptiste

Nine starlets from the Academy of Football have been called up by their nations for the upcoming October international break, ranging from the U21 age group down to U17s.

In UEFA U21 Championship qualifier action will be Conor Coventry, who joined Peterborough United on loan in August, with the Republic of Ireland U21s.

The Boys in Green, who have four points from their opening two matches, face Luxembourg at Tallaght Stadium on Friday 8 October, before travelling to Podgorica to take on Montenegro four days later.

Goalkeeper Krisztián Hegyi is also in U21s action with Hungary, who are set to play qualifiers for the same tournament at home to both Poland on Friday 8 October and Germany on Tuesday 12 October. Hegyi’s side have three points from their opening two games.

And fellow West Ham U23s duo Brian Kinnear and Harrison Ashby have both been called up to the Scotland U21s squad for the upcoming qualifier against Denmark at Tynecastle Park.

Originally due to be an away fixture, the match will now be played in Scotland on Thursday, 7 October following a request from the Danes to reverse the fixtures. 

Summer signing Pierre Ekwah has received a recall to the France international youth set-up, and could be in line to feature for Les Bleus' U20s team in two home friendlies against Tunisia U20s on Thursday 7 and Sunday 10 October.

Representing England U19s, Jamal Baptiste has been selected for a trio of back-to-back preparatory friendlies against France (Wednesday 6 October), Mexico (Saturday 9 October) and Belgium (Tuesday 12 October), all taking place at the Marbella Football Center.

Ian Foster’s team have been stepping up their preparations for November’s U19 EURO ‘qualifying’ round, in which England will face group hosts Sweden, along with Switzerland and Andorra, for the right to advance to the ‘elite’ round in Spring 2022.

Joining him in Marbella will be forward Sonny Perkins, whose fine form at Academy level this season has been rewarded with another call-up to England’s U18s squad for friendlies against Norway (Thursday 7 October) and Russia (Monday 11 October) at the same venue. 

And the Hammers provide a third Young Lion in U17s representative Oliver Scarles, who – having impressed as England’s U17s reached the final of the Syrenka Cup last month – is selected at the same level to play Armenia (Saturday 16 October), Belarus (Tuesday 19 October) and Slovakia (Friday 22 October) – all to be played in Belarus.

The fixtures form the first round of qualifiers for U17 EURO qualification for next summer’s finals, with 13 group winners, 13 runners-up, and the four third-placed teams with the best record against the first and second-placed teams in their group advancing to spring 2022’s elite round. Israel will host the finals tournament in May and June next year.

Finally, West Ham U18s captain Michael Forbes is in the Northern Ireland U19 team for their own U19 EURO qualifying round fixtures. Northern Ireland will play Denmark (Wednesday 6 October), hosts Czech Republic (Saturday 9 October) and Kazakhstan (Tuesday 12 October) in a four-team mini tournament for the right to advance to the ‘elite’ round in the spring.

The Hammers celebrate