Thursday, June 20, 2024

Northern Ireland: Shea and Pierce Charles dreaming of sharing international stage under Michael O’Neill

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Those early days playing outfield have evidently served the youngest Charles brother well.

A goalkeeper wholly comfortable on the ball, Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has praised his all-round ability.

“Pierce is one of those goalkeepers that everyone is looking for in the modern game,” he said.

“He’s got great distribution, real composure with the ball at his feet and we know at Sheffield Wednesday they really regard him highly.”

Like Jeff and Jim Whitley, who won a combined 23 Northern Ireland caps between 1997 and 2005, Shea and Pierce were both products of the Manchester City youth system.

The latter feels the club’s insistence that keepers are comfortable with the ball at their feet has helped him develop a rounded skillset.

“With being at City when I was younger, they wanted you to be good with your feet and I suppose that just carried on and brought it on in my game today.”

On the experience of coming through the ranks at Etihad Stadium, he adds: “It was very valuable.

“The change for me to go to Sheffield Wednesday at the time was perfect. I think that’s what I needed, a change of scenery, a change [in perspective of] how the game is played. I think it’s worked out perfectly.”

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