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Academy stars in action for their countries

31 March 2016

An overview of the next generation of Reading players representing their countries over the international break

The Royals had several players representing their countries across the younger age categories over the international break:

Niall Keown, Shane Griffin, Sean Long, Josh Barrett – Republic of Ireland U21s
Four Reading players represented the Republic of Ireland Under-21s with Niall Keown making his debut for the full 90 minutes against Italy. 17 year-old Josh Barrett also made his debut from the bench in Ireland’s next game against Slovenia in Koper. For the clash with Slovenia the Ireland back four boasted three Reading players with Shane Griffin and Sean Long joining Niall Keown in defence.
Unfortunately the results didn’t go their way with Ireland losing both games putting their UEFA U21 Championships campaign at risk and clouding their hopes of reaching Euro 2017.

Dominic Hyam – Scotland U21s
Defender Dominic Hyam was an unused sub for the Scotland Under-21s as they secured an important three points in their European Under-21 Championships qualifier against Northern Ireland in Paisley; Shay McCartan had struck early for the Ulstermen but the hosts hit three within 20 minutes during the second half through Oliver McBurnie and a Jason Cummings brace to keep the top two places within touching distance as they passed the midway stage of qualifying.

Sammi Fridjonsson – Iceland U21s
Iceland Under-21s only had the one game over the international break in which Royals youngster Sammi Fridjonsson played the full ninety in a goalless draw with Macedonia in Skopje.

Jake Cooper – England U20s
Jake Cooper came off the bench for England's Under-20s in the first of two games against Canada. The first match resulted in a 4-1 victory behind closed doors at the Keepmoat Stadium;
Having led by Brandon Barker’s solitary goal in the first period, England ran out comfortable winners in the end and added to their lead with three second half strikes from Casey Palmer, Ashley Fletcher and Alex Gilliead - while Cooper replaced West Ham's Reece Burke with 20 minutes remaining, coming on for Keith Downing's men at the same time as Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford. 
However the second game against Canada held a different story. Played in front of a 3,264-strong crowd at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium, it was the visitors that came out 2-1 winners. Cooper played the full 90, but goals by Kadin Chung and Marco Bastos either side of half-time meant that Chelsea midfielder Kasey Palmer’s 71st-minute strike was merely a consolation.

Zak Jules – Scotland U19s
Young Royals defender Zak Jules represented Scotland’s Under-19s, playing the full ninety minutes in a 2-0 defeat to Belgium in Kostrena, Croatia.

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