Amid the upheaval at Fulham this season, Dublin-born full-back Seán Kavanagh has emerged and he is poised to enhance his stock further by earning an Ireland U-21 debut in Norway this evening.
The former Belvedere product is amongst a clutch of newcomers Ireland boss Noel King intends to blood in the friendly in Drammen with a view to assembling a squad for the 2017 European Championship qualifiers that begin in the middle of next year.
Kavanagh won’t be overawed by the experience. Injuries had deprived the defender of his first-team breakthrough previously but, in August, Felix Magath started him in the Championship game against promotion rivals Wolves.
Three more outings have followed and, while Magath departed Craven Cottage last month, his replacement on a caretaker basis, Kit Symons, is even more familiar than the German with the Irishman’s ability.
“Kit managed me for the club’s U-18 and U-21 teams and has really steadied the ship since taking over the first team,” he said of the man who has led the Cottagers to three wins from his four games in charge to date.
“He knows the young players well and that has to be a good thing for us. We just need stability after everything that has gone on.”
Although it’s early days yet, Kavanagh can appreciate through Brian Lenihan’s rapid elevation to the Ireland senior squad and the dearth of left-back options available to Martin O’Neill that making the step-up can be achieved.
“Brian’s call-up gives us all hope,” said Kavanagh, who played alongside fellow squad member Darragh Lenihan at Belvedere. “He’s got selected after playing just 45 minutes at U-21 level, so it can happen.
“For me, though, the international aim is to break into the U-21 team for the European Championship qualifiers. I’ve played a few games for Fulham’s first team, so hopefully I get more and keep getting noticed at international level.”