Liverpool duo given surprise boost with international squads forced into changes

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Caoimhin Kelleher and Ben Woodburn have been promoted to their senior national teams, with the Liverpool duo benefiting from withdrawals for Ireland and Wales.

The first international break of the season is upon us, with the UEFA Nations League and qualifiers for the Under-21 Euros going ahead despite postponements around the world.

There is greater trepidation over safety measures while players are on duty with their national teams due to COVID-19, and though Jurgen Klopp has stressed that he has no concerns, there have withdrawals elsewhere.

Some have come due to injury, while others have been due to clubs not being willing to release their players or the players themselves not being willing to travel.

It is far from an ideal situation, and it paints UEFA’s decision to push on with their usual calendar as more of a farce, while their counterparts in Africa, Asia and South America have opted to delay their schedule.

Two national teams to be affected by players pulling out are the Republic of Ireland and Wales, with Kelleher and Woodburn given a chance as a result.

Kelleher has been called into the Ireland senior squad following the exit of Kieran O’Hara through injury, with the 21-year-old now in the group to take on Bulgaria (Sep 3) and Finland (Sep 6).

It is a positive situation for Kelleher, as though he is now likely to be on the bench as Darren Randolph starts, the U21s were only set for a training camp in Northern Ireland, so the experience of training with the seniors will boost him further.

Meanwhile, Woodburn has been promoted to the Wales squad after Aaron Ramsey, David Brooks, Tyler Roberts and Ashley Williams all pulled out.

CARDIFF, WALES - Friday, November 16, 2018: Wales' substitute Ben Woodburn warms-up during the UEFA Nations League Group Stage League B Group 4 match between Wales and Denmark at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Woodburn has endured a tough period of late, with disappointing loan spells and serious injuries setting him back significantly after an eye-catching start to life at Liverpool.

It remains to be seen whether the 20-year-old will feature in Wales’ UEFA Nations League clashes with Finland (Sep 3) and Bulgaria (Sep 6), but his chances have increased with the absence of Ramsey and Brooks.

He joins Liverpool team-mates Neco Williams and Harry Wilson in the squad, with the right-back the most likely to feature prominently after Roberts dropped out.

Both Kelleher and Woodburn have been touted with loan moves away from Liverpool this summer, but their futures are unlikely to be resolved until after the international break.

The transfer window closes on October 5, but there is a further deadline for Premier League clubs to sell or loan players to the rest of the Football League, from the Championship down, on October 16.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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