The Saddlers welcomed several players back to training from international duty yesterday ahead of our weekend game against Bristol Rovers.
Shaun Donnellan faced the media the day after getting off a long-haul flight, having been to take on Azerbaijan with Ireland’s under-21 side.
The West Bromwich Albion loanee played the full 90 minutes for Noel King’s side, who won 3-1 to continue their fine start to the UEFA U21 Championships Qualifying Round Group 5 campaign.
After being on the bench for games against Kosovo and Serbia, young right-back Liam Kinsella made his U21s bow in that game, coming on as a substitute and earning a mention from King after the game for his contribution.
Completing the Irish connection is Callum Cockerill-Mollett. The young left-back played in the second of Ireland U19s’ friendlies against Czech Republic on Monday, but had to be brought off on a stretcher after 33 minutes with a blow to the knee.
“One negative was that Callum Cockerill-Mollett was (brought) off with a bang on the knee in the first half and he was taken to hospital as a precaution,” said Irish assistant coach Mick Neville.
Tyler Roberts netted after just seven minutes for Wales U21s last Saturday in their UEFA U21 Championship Qualifying Round Group 8 against Switzerland as David Brooks and George Thomas also netted.
Roberts’ goal was a neat finish from just inside the box to the bottom-right corner, having played a neat dummy and taken the ball back from a one-two before setting himself up to finish.
Rob Page’s youngsters then faced a tough game against Portugal on Tuesday, falling to a 2-0 defeat. Again Roberts started, but was unable to find the back of the net as he had early on in the previous game.
Maz Kouhyar started for Afghanistan’s national side, playing the entire first half in their 2-0 friendly defeat to Oman, while Mitch Candlin trained with England’s U18s at St George’s Park last week before returning to The Saddlers’ squad for the 2-1 win over Plymouth Argyle last weekend.