SOUTHEND United striker Harry Crawford has been called-up for the Republic of Ireland’s under 19 squad for the first time.

Crawford, who forced his way in to the Blues’ first team towards the end of last season, will fly out to the Ukraine this morning to represent Ireland in the under 19 Euro Championships Elite Stages.

And he cannot wait to make his international debut.

“It is a great honour and a really good way for me to end the season,” said Crawford, 18.

“I fly out to Kiev and we will spend the first seven days in a training camp.

“Then we play England in our first game in a really tough group.”

Ireland have also been paired alongside the Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina but Craw-ford, a product of the youth system at Southend, is keen to take them on.

“It’s going to be great,” said Crawford, who qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandparents.

“Quite a few of the Ireland team are from Premier League sides like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

“So it will be a great experience to be playing alongside some of them. Hopefully we can do well and progress through to the finals in France later this year.”

Ireland’s opening match against England takes place on Wednesday, May 26.

They face the hosts, Ukraine two days later before finishing their group against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday, May 31.