Duffy asks Brighton fans to ease off Connolly

Brighton and Hove Albion
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Brighton defender Shane Duffy has urged the club’s fans to not put too much pressure on youngster Aaron Connolly.

The striker has enjoyed a whirlwind few weeks after grabbing a brace in the 3-0 win over Tottenham before the international break.

The 19-year-old graduated from Brighton’s academy in 2017, but he has had to bide his time before being given a chance in the first team. After spending six months on loan at Luton Town, Graham Potter gave him an opportunity at the start of this season.

He has now made five appearances for the Seagulls and Connolly could well start the club’s next game against Aston Villa on October 19.

The Galway-born forward has also enjoyed success on the international stage, after being promoted from the Republic of Ireland U21 squad to the senior side. Connolly stepped off the bench against Georgia on Sunday and looked sharp, and pundits have urged Ireland boss Mick McCarthy to start him against Switzerland on Tuesday.

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Duffy, who is also away with the Ireland squad after overcoming an injury, said Connolly has bags of ability, but he wants the fans to go easy on him.

The centre-back told The Argus: “He’s been brilliant. I’m looking after him. He’s a great kid. I’m just trying to keep him settled, keep his feet on the ground. I’m delighted for him.

“He thrives off big moments, he thrives off big games, and that’s what he wants. He loves scoring goals and he always will, whatever level he plays at and hopefully for Ireland. But you can’t put too much pressure on him, he’s only a kid, and he’s played three or four games in his career.”

Connolly partnered Neal Maupay up front when Brighton beat Tottenham last time out and the duo are set to retain their places this weekend. Leandro Trossard is still hoping to prove his fitness as Potter’s side try to move into the top 10 in the Premier League.

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