Premier League

Former England youth international Aoife Mannion receives first Ireland call up

Former England youth international Aoife Mannion receives first Ireland call up

Aoife Mannion has received her maiden call up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad ahead of the February international camp.

Ireland face China during the upcoming international break as preparations for their first ever World Cup step up.

Manager Vera Pauw admitted in December her side’s historic qualification for this summer’s showpiece event in Australia and New Zealand had resulted in contact being made by a number of dual-qualified players. She confirmed that Mannion was among them, and that her eligibility was being dealt with.

The Manchester United defender was born in Solihull to Irish parents, and has represented England at various youth levels. She was twice called up for England by Phil Neville in 2019, but remained an unused substitute over the course of four fixtures.

Mannion returned to the United bench towards the end of 2022, following her comeback from an ACL injury. It was the second injury of such nature the defender had suffered in the space of three years.

“After we qualified there were a lot putting their names in, but we will only use them if they have a very strong relationship with Ireland,” Pauw told The Green Machine Podcast last year. “Aoife’s parents were born in Ireland, she will be in Ireland for Christmas and new year with her grandparents, so there is a very strong connection there.

“But players who now jump in and think, ‘Oh, I’ve got a granny somewhere, I’ll get a passport and then I’ll play for Ireland,’ we don’t [go] for that, unless they are really, really good. If they are equal level, then I will choose the players who have done it, of course. This bond that we have, you can only keep it if there is that trust. But every single player would want someone who could make us stronger to come in.”

Ireland qualified for their first ever World Cup in October thanks to a 1-0 victory over Scotland in the playoffs. Pauw’s side have been drawn in a group alongside Australia, Canada and Nigeria.

They will play hosts Australia in their opening group game – the fixture has already been moved from the 42,000 seater Allianz Stadium to the 82,500 capacity Stadium Australia to meet ticket demand.

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