New Republic chief challenges Idah to kick on
Adam Idah looks to have a big chance of forcing his way into the Republic of Ireland’s senior plans if can keep making headlines for Norwich City.
The 19-year-old burst onto the scene with a hat-trick in the Canaries’ FA Cup third round win at Preston at the start of this year, and made his full Premier League debut at Manchester United in January.
He also struck a nerveless penalty in the FA Cup shoot-out win at Tottenham in the last round to underline he has the temperament to go with the talent that has seen him fast-tracked into Daniel Farke’s first team plans.
Now Idah’s shot at a potential international bow has received a boost with his former under-21s boss, Stephen Kenny, replacing Mick McCarthy ahead of re-scheduled European Championship play-off ties set to be played later in the year.
Idah was watched by McCarthy’s assistant in City’s heavy Old Trafford league defeat, with the Republic due to have faced Ondrej Duda’s Slovakia in March in a bid to move a step closer the finals.
The 19-year-old Corkman was a mainstay under Kenny at age group level for the Irish, and his newly-appointed senior boss is a huge admirer.
“Obviously, Adam Idah had a spectacular introduction, and not too many players get a hat-trick on their debut,” he said. “Everyone back at Cork should be proud of him for the part they have played. Now he has to back that up over a period of time.
“He has been ever-present for us, games where he was outstanding, games where he perhaps didn’t hit that same level, and he has a wide range of abilities. He is quick, he can threaten in behind and he has a physical presence.
“Adam played nearly 12 games for the under-21s (in the past year) and Neil Adams, the loans manager at Norwich, has been there for all of them, or nearly all.
“A lot of the under-21s are now playing, or in and around, first teams. For Adam to have been training with Norwich’s first team in that environment can only have helped his development.”
Kenny’s former assistant, Jim Crawford, has stepped up to the Irish under-21s role, and is also challenging Idah to kick on.
“There is real talent coming through the system,” he said, speaking to the FAI’s Youtube channel. “It is there for everyone to see. I have worked with players like Adam and other players of that calibre and I know what they can bring to the table.
“It really is exciting times. I am excited to work with them and I have no doubt we have players who might make a push up to the first team perhaps earlier than expected.
“My job then would be to fill those voids.”