Roy Keane says youngsters should not be pressurised

Ireland Assistant manager Roy Keane
Ireland Assistant manager Roy Keane

Roy Keane has urged people not to pile the pressure on a new generation of potential Republic of Ireland midfield stars.

Everton’s James McCarthy could win his 26th senior international cap at the age of 24 against England on Sunday, while Republic boss Martin O’Neill and assistant Keane are keeping their fingers crossed that Aston Villa’s teenage prodigy Jack Grealish eventually opts to represent the country of his heritage rather than that of his birth.

McCarthy turned in the kind of commanding display which has sometimes eluded him at international level in the second half of the 1-1 Euro 2016 qualifier draw with Poland in March, but Keane knows he cannot be rushed.

“James is still finding his feet at international level - I have said it before - and there is nothing wrong with that.

“I felt it took me 20, 25 international games really to get a feel for the group, the players I was working with, and I think James might be the same. Sometimes, you can be a slow-burner.

“But like all players - and he’s young at international level But the signs were very good against Poland.”