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Crawford: West Ham's Odubeko taking time to decide international future


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Republic of Ireland U21 manager Jim Crawford says Mipo Odubeko won't be involved in next month's European Championship qualifiers.

Crawford names his squad on Friday for the games with Bosnia & Herzegovina (Sep. 3) and Luxembourg (Sep. 7)

He's promised a number of "surprises" among his next panel, but confirmed West Ham starlet Odubeko once again will be absent.

The Tallaght native was left out of Crawford's squads in the spring, as the 18-year old mulled over his international future.

Although born in Dublin, Odubeko qualifies for Nigeria while England are also believed to be acquiring the striker through residency rules.

He's scored in each of West Ham U23's games in Premier League 2 so far this season, but Crawford confirmed his firepower will be missing for next month's away trips.

"I had a lot of really difficult decisions to make with players who've been involved in the last two camps," he told FAI TV.

"It's not easy, but it has to be done.

"But probably the biggest talking point would be Mipo [Odubeko] from West Ham where... Mipo's got a decision to make.

"He's got a choice, and our lines of communication will always be open but he won't be involved in this camp.

"But probably, what we should be talking about is the players who are involved.

"You look at the likes of Ryan Johansson who fought tooth and nail to be part of the under-21s, and that's the type of player you need in the building - players who are proud to put on the jersey, and will work as hard as they can to make sure that this team can achieve as much as they possibly can."

Johansson has moved on loan from Sevilla to Eredivisie club Fortuna Sittard in search of first-team experience.

But Crawford could be tempted to give a first U21 call-up to former U19 international Armstrong Oko-Flex. He scored a hat-trick on his debut for West Ham's U23's last week.

Asked what he's looking for from his side next week, Crawford said, "First and foremost, that we play an attacking style of football that the fans can be proud of.

"That they can see the high-potential players who are coming through our system.

"That when the games finish with a really good performance and a positive result they are excited and want to come to more of our games.”

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Armstrong Oko-Flex Armstrong Okoflex Ireland U21 Jim Crawford Mipo Odubeko Republic Of Ireland Republic Of Ireland U21 West Ham

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