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dropped Derby boss Wayne Rooney axes Ireland underage star Festy Ebosele over ‘attitude’

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Festy Ebosele in action for the Republic of Ireland U-21s against Emanuel Vignato of Italy. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Festy Ebosele in action for the Republic of Ireland U-21s against Emanuel Vignato of Italy. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Festy Ebosele in action for the Republic of Ireland U-21s against Emanuel Vignato of Italy. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Festy Ebosele, the Italy-bound Ireland underage star, appears to have played his last game for Derby County after manager Wayne Rooney dropped him from the squad due to the player’s “attitude”.

Derby’s relegation to League One was confirmed by Monday’s 1-0 loss to QPR, the Rams unable to make up the 21 points which they were docked due to financial irregularities.

Wexford lad Ebosele, who has signed a pre-contract with Italian side Udinese ahead of a summer move, had made 35 appearances for the club this season, the most recent on Good Friday, but he was not in the squad for the Monday clash with QPR. And Rooney made no apologies for omitting the Ireland U-21 cap.

“Festy’s attitude wasn’t right, wasn’t great. I left him out of the squad because of it,” Rooney said.

“I know he’s moved on to a new club but if you are here you give it everything, Luke Plange is an example, who has done the same but he gives everything. The way I work, if you are off it, you can’t play, you will not play whether we are fighting relegation, fighting for trophies, you won’t play.”

Derby have three games left this term but Rooney is now unlikely to call on Ebosele again, while relegation for Derby is also likely to mean an exit for midfielder Jason Knight, who is the subject of interest from a number of Championship sides. He was recently restored to the starting XI by Rooney after a spell on the bench.

Former St Joseph’s Boys player Ebosele has secured a five-year contract with Udinese, who have also signed St Patrick’s Athletic man James Abankwah.

Ebosele missed the most recent camp with the Ireland U-21s for personal reasons but the 19-year-old is believed to be fully committed and has been name-checked by Stephen Kenny ahead of a possible senior call-up.

Meanwhile, former international Aiden McGeady says he’s eager to carry on his playing career next season, at the age of 36. McGeady has not featured for League One side Sunderland since November due to injury, and while he had been back in training with the club in recent weeks, it’s almost certain he has played his final game for the Black Cats.

But he has no plans to retire. “I want to play on for a couple of years, once he can contribute. I don’t even like talking about coaching because if you do, it is as if you are almost nearing the end. It is not just playing for the sake of playing. If I wasn’t able to do what I once could, I would be frustrated,” he said.

“I know I am 36 and have not got that many years left but I still think with the way that I play, I can do so for a few years.”


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