McConville: Lots of football is perfect for me

Under-21s takes on Leicester City on Saturday in Premier League 2.

By Charlie Hanson • 16 December 2023

By Simon Roe
Ruairi McConville has been a regular for the under-21s this season.

Ruairi McConville says he’s loving every minute of life with the under-21s this season.

The 18-year-old was limited to 19 appearances for the under-21s and under-18s after sustaining a couple of injuries last season.

The Northern Ireland Under-21 international has been a regular for Shannon Ruth’s under-21s this season, which includes playing in all four of our Bristol Street Motors Trophy matches in our run to the last 16.

“It’s been great and I’ve wanted to play as many games as I can,” Ruairi said. “I missed a fair bit of last year so I am trying to make up for that. I am enjoying every minute of training and the games and I am trying to put myself in the best position going forward.

By Simon Roe
Ruairi McConville joined Albion from Linfield in 2021.

“I am progressing well, at international level where I’ve made the step-up to the under-21s and I see that as an achievement.

“My main aim stay fit and play as many under-21s games as I can. I want to put myself in a good position come the end of the season and maybe go out on loan or push into the first team picture."

The defender has seen teammates make the step-up to the first team this season, which he says illustrates the strength of the pathway at the club.

“It’s encouraging and shows you that the opportunity is there, and that you need to do that extra bit to try and get there. The most important thing is that young players are getting the chance and when those opportunities next come around, you have to make sure that it’s you."

There are certainly plenty of role models in the first-team squad.

By Simon Roe
Ruairi McConville has scored two goals for the under-21s so far this campaign.

“We were in the stands and went mad when Jack [Hinshelwood] scored against Brentford. We saw Benicio [Baker-Boaitey] get on the pitch as well which was great to see. It helps us as well because when they come back into our group, they don’t drop their standards. Benicio came straight back in and helped us."

The under-21s face Leicester City in Premier League 2 on Saturday with Albion aiming to return to winning ways after their 3-0 defeat to Fulham in their last league outing a fortnight ago. They lost 4-0 to Aston Villa in the Premier League Cup last Friday.

McConville wants the closeness of the group to be the key to turning that form around. “Even last year when I started playing for the under-21s it felt like a tight group and it helps," he added. "It shows on the pitch when we’re always backing and helping each other. It helps each of us get to where we want to be and achieve our goals.”