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Stokes Celtic’s Dangerman warns Fenlon

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Pat Fenlon has singled out on form fellow Dubliner Anthony Stokes as the man his defenders will have to watch out for tomorrow when champions Celtic visit Easter Road, and he should know, having managed him as a youngster.

“I know Anthony well; he was at Shelbourne as a kid when I was the manager there before he went to Arsenal. I know him really well from a playing point of view, although I don’t know him that well personally. He’s a real talent, and I think Gary Hooper leaving has really helped him. He’s the main man and that has helped him.

“He was just a kid at Shelbourne, maybe 14, but he was such a special talent, a really good schoolboy player. He was bigger than everybody but he had all the natural ability in the world, the kind of thing you can’t coach. I hope Anthony doesn’t mind me calling him a street footballer, because it’s something we don’t have enough of in Ireland. We’re not developing these type of players anymore, because the lads don’t play on the streets.

The former Bohs’ manager is happy to see the talented striker back in the international fold after Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup on Brazil next year, although he joked that he would have been happier had he picked up a minor injury in midweek and been missing tomorrow.

“I’m delighted he’s back in the Ireland squad, because he’s a player we have lacked. He’s someone I would describe as a street footballer – he has different things to his game, he’s not methodical in the things he does, and to have that in your team is a great asset. From a defensive point of view he is difficult to tie down, because he does things off the cuff. From Ireland’s point of view it is brilliant to have him back – but I was hoping he might’ve picked up something and not be fit again until Tuesday night.

Danny Handling is back in the squad after injury but unlikely to start, while Sam Stanton is expected to be out of action for several weeks after injuring a hip in training.

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