‘He’s a great role model for me’ - City striker could face Pukki when Ireland take on Finland
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Adam Idah is “raring to go” as a new era begins for the Republic of Ireland and could even find himself facing his Norwich City team-mate and “role model” Teemu Pukki later this week.
The 19-year-old has been prolific at youth levels in recent years for the Republic of Ireland and has been named in the first squad chosen by Stephen Kenny since his elevation from coach of the under-21s.
That’s for Uefa Nations League games in Bulgaria on Thursday (7.45pm) and then against Pukki and Finland in Dublin on Sunday (5pm), as Group 4B gets started.
“I’m just going to play the way I always do,” said the young Canaries striker. “Obviously Stephen with the under-21s just gave us that confidence to be ourselves and gave us that bit of freedom to play. We just have to come and try to be confident.
“I think every footballer has a small bit of pressure on their shoulders. For me and the younger boys, we are all fairly confident in our own ability.
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“This is what we have been waiting for; this is what we have worked all those years for and I think all of us are raring to go, can’t wait to get started. I think everyone just has to come together and be united as a team again.
“We’ve worked a lot in training and Stephen said we’ll work together as a team. He’s going to try to bring a new era into this Irish team.”
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Idah has five goals in 11 games to his name at U21 level, with Ireland on course to qualify for the European U21 Championship, but now is part of a senior squad with a youthful edge alongside players including Tottenham prospect Troy Parrott and Brighton duo Aaron Connolly and Jayson Molumby.
After scoring consistently at youth levels during his first two years with Norwich the Cork native signed a long-term contract last summer and was promoted to the first team.
Sixteen appearances followed - with the highlight being a hat-trick at Preston in the FA Cup fourth round, becoming City’s youngest ever hat-trick scorer - so he has been working closely and learning from Finland star Pukki.
“Teemu is a great professional,” Idah added, speaking to Irish newspaper the Evening Herald.
“Obviously I played with him throughout the whole season. Seeing him in training and even outside training, he’s just the perfect athlete, to be honest.
“He scored a few goals for Finland last year to get them into the Euros. He’s a great striker and I can look up to players like Teemu and try to use his athleticism and professionalism in my career. He’s a great role model for me.”