Mark McGuinness provided an assist on his full debut for the Ireland u21s on Wednesday, helping them to a win over Luxembourg.
Arsenal academy centre-back is on loan with Ipswich Town this season, but he took a break from club action to join up with the Republic of Ireland u21s over the last week or so.
McGuinness didn’t feature in the first game of the international break against Iceland, a defeat which unfortunately made qualification for the u21 Euros near impossible. However, he got a start for the final group qualifier against Luxembourg.
Making his full debut, McGuinness ended up contributing to the winning goal in the second half. He flicked on from a Danny Mandroiu free-kick to Jamie Lennon, who fired in from 12 yards out.
The Irish defence held firm at 2-0 until the final six minutes, when a long-distance effort from Luxembourg’s Kenan Avdusinovic flew in off the crossbar. But overall, it was a strong display at the back with McGuinness in the middle.
It’s another positive step forward for the 19-year-old. After making a friendly senior debut for Arsenal in pre-season, he’s now playing regular first-team football with Ipswich Town and progressing into the top youth side with his country.
McGuinness has already helped Ipswich to a couple of clean sheets in his first four appearances with them. But he faces a fight to keep his place, with a lot of competition in defence, so he’ll have to keep impressing.