Steele, Cahill, Red Bull rookies called for international duty

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

With a painful end of the season behind them, several Red Bull players are looking forward to more playing time ahead.

Amongst them is this year’s unexpected starter Jonny Steele who at long last has been given a call-up with Northern Ireland v. Turkey. The 27-year-old midfielder revealed the news yesterday via Twitter:

An add-on player in the weeks prior to the Red Bulls’ season opener, Steele excelled and earned starting status with the club. He started in 32 of the team’s 34 regular season matches, making one appearance as a sub while quietly accumulating five goals and six assists on the season.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill, who recently had his contract extended by two years with the team, has flirted with the idea of calling in Steele for the better part of this year. Both Red Bull superstars Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill were vocal in their support of the move. With the Red Bulls postseason cut short, Steele gets his opportunity to represent his country.

Speaking of Cahill, he is listed to be joining the Socceroos, but has told new coach Ange Postecoglou he will have to monitor his health first after picking up a knock in the Red Bulls final playoff match against Houston.

“I cramped up in my thigh towards the end. I had someone step on me in the last game and tonight in the second half of extra time I just seized up when I jumped,” Cahill said after the match. “I felt a cramp just on my thigh underneath my hamstring. I couldn’t straighten my leg so I was struggling to run. I couldn’t believe it.

“I couldn’t do anything. I have no football now for six weeks other than playing for the national team and hopefully I will be ok for that. I’ll patch myself up and go again.”

Rounding out the Red Bull call-ups are under-20 players Matt Miazga, Santiago Castano and Amando Moreno, all of whom have been summoned by coach Tab Ramos to join the youth side in a competitive 10-day camp in Verona, Italy. The U-20 team will face Italian Serie A side Hellas Verona’s academy team, Iran’s U-20 National Team and a yet-to-be-confirmed opponent.

They are three of only six players called into an internationally-heavy U.S. roster.