Ciaron Brown excited by Northern Ireland talent ahead of Spain friendly

The Green and White Army head to the Estadi Mallorca Son Moix to face a Spain side gearing up for Euro 2024.

Luis de la Fuente’s team beat Andorra 5-0 on Wednesday, with a Mikel Oyarzabal hat-trick sandwiched between goals from Ayoze Perez and Ferran Torres.

If selected, Brown could find himself directly up against the likes of Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, Barcelona’s 16-year-old winger Lamine Yamal and Athletic Bilbao attacker Nico Williams.

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Brown is impressed though by a new crop of talent emerging for Northern Ireland.

Defensive colleagues Conor Bradley (Liverpool) and Brodie Spencer (Huddersfield Town) are both 20, as are midfield duo Shea Charles (Southampton) and Isaac Price (Standard Liege). Nottingham Forest centre back Aaron Donnelly turns 21 tomorrow.

Rangers attacker Ross McCausland is 21, with strikers Callum Marshall (West Ham United) and Dale Taylor (Nottingham Forest) aged 19 and 20 respectively.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday’s 18-year-old goalkeeper Pierce Charles has been included in a senior Northern Ireland squad for the first time.

Discussing the fresh faces on the international scene, Brown said: “It’s always exciting to be called up by your national team because it means you’re doing something well.

“I think in the last year or so, we’ve had a big change from the older lads, and we’ve had to replace them with the younger lads.

“To be fair, the younger lads have come in and been superb. I don’t think it’s taken them very long to get used to international football, because it is different from league football, but I think they’ve done really well.”

Following the Spain match, Northern Ireland then take on Andorra on Tuesday evening, and even if Brown doesn’t get game time across the two friendlies, he’ll still be taking the positives from the international camp.

“When you go away, it’s difficult because everyone is playing at different levels and have different ways of playing,” he said.

“Obviously you go there always wanting to play, and I go there especially always wanting to play. It’s not always the case, but hopefully I’ll be getting minutes.

“When I go away, I always enjoy it. Off the pitch, everyone is good, and it’s a good laugh.

“Going there, you enjoy it. You always want to play, which if you don’t, is a bit of a downer, but we have a good group, which always makes it easier when you don’t play.”

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