Republic of Ireland under-21 boss Stephen Kenny announced his latest squad on Wednesday afternoon – and there was no place for Luca Connell.
The teenage midfielder has been virtually an ever present for his national side in recent months so it was perhaps surprising to see him not included by Kenny. The former Dunfermline boss did include new Celtic pair Jonathan Afolabi and Lee O’Connor for the double header against Italy and Iceland but it was still a surprise not to see Connell’s name.
In fact, we haven’t really seen Connell’s name all season so far. Other than a positive performance in the pre-season friendly draw with Rennes, the former Bolton man has barely been noticed. He wasn’t even involved in the Celtic XI that took on Albion Rovers on Tuesday night, so what is going on?
The most likely explanation is that Connell is suffering with an injury. The last correspondence we have on that issue is from Neil Lennon in the middle of September.
“There are no fresh injury worries from the weekend, just a couple of injured boys in training,” the Northern Irishman told the BBC.
“Luca Connell picked up a slight thigh strain.”
Connell won’t be playing for Ireland next week
But it’s more than a fortnight later and Connell still seems to be out of action. And further to that, he’s also withdrawn for some international games that don’t take place until next week.
It seems even more frustrating that Connell isn’t around in the period when he could probably contribute for the first-team. The Irishman would have been an ideal candidate to come in for the overworked Callum McGregor when we faced Partick Thistle in the Betfred Cup last midweek.
Connell must have looked on enviously as his fellow 18-year-old Jeremie Frimpong got a standing ovation from the Parkhead faithful. Just like Frimpong he has something to offer in the here and now. Just once we find out exactly what’s going on.