Richie Sadlier says there is an excitement back in Irish football, fuelled by the rapid rise of teenage striker Aaron Connolly.
The Galway native was initially named in Stephen Kenny's under-21s squad for their European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Iceland, but was swiftly drafted into the senior ranks after scoring twice in Brighton's 3-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday.
There are growing calls for the 19-year-old to feature in the double-header against Georgia and Switzerland and RTÉ soccer analyst Sadlier says after a period of negativity off the pitch in recent months, Irish football looks to be in a good place with the Boys in Green currently leading the way in Group D.
"We now have something we haven't had in a while, the first time selection of a young player who we are really excited about," the former Irish international said of Connolly.
"I can't recall the last time that has happened with an Ireland senior team. I’ve seen many squads picked in the last few years and the youngest players are 24, 25 and 26.
"Aaron Connolly did very well at the weekend for Brighton and has been doing well with the U21s and has been building a reputation steadily for himself."
After a disappointing 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and turmoil within the FAI, Sadlier insists the players are ensuring the outlook is much sunnier ahead of Saturday’s away clash in Tbilisi.
"There is now a bit of a buzz. We are in a good group position, very close to confirming qualification all going well. The departure of John Delaney is interpreted by a lot of people as a step forward and you have people like Aaron coming on board.
"You just hope that his improvement keeps going at the trajectory it is going.
"Finally there are good things to say about Irish football."
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