Nya Kirby’s rise through England’s international ranks continued apace earlier this week, as he made his debut for the U19 side in a 3-2 come-from-behind victory against Turkey in the first game of the European Championships.
Having already won caps for the U16, U17 and U18 sides, it’s fair to say that Nya is well known to the coaches at international level, prompting coach Paul Simpson to select him to take part a little further up the ladder.
Whilst Kirby wasn’t given a start, his introduction to the game came at a vital time, with the Young Lions having clawed their way back from behind to lead. Brought on in the 79th minute, the midfielder was tasked with helping his teammates see out the victory which he did, picking up a booking for his troubles in the final minute.
The other two participants in England’s group are Ukraine and France, who they will face in games on Friday and Monday respectively. Ukraine beat the French in their own opening fixture meaning that the victor of their clash tomorrow should end up topping the ground. Whilst Kirby won’t be expecting to start that one, his involvement in the latter stages against Turkey will undoubtedly lift his spirits heading into the tie.
Having been involved in Palace’s first-team pre-season plans, you could suggest that the tournament has come at a bad time for the youngster but if he plays and impresses out in Finland, I dare say Roy Hodgson will be open to the idea of involving him further in the first-team set-up over the course of the coming campaign
Still just a teenager, Nya is seen as one of if not the brightest player in Palace’s academy as things stand. Hopefully he continues to progress at the same pace over the next 12 months or so, starting with a tournament win whilst away with England.