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Tom Flanagan is called up for the Northern Ireland under-21 team ahead of match against Stuart Pearce's England

By Luke Cawdell

Tom Flanagan

Tom Flanagan in action recently against Aldershot       Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham boss Martin Allen was thrilled to see on-loan defender Tom Flanagan gain international recognition.

The 20-year-old defender, on loan from League 1 MK Dons, has been selected for Northern Ireland’s under-21 squad ahead of next week’s friendly match with England at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road.

“It is a fantastic achievement,” said Allen, on the defender who joined the Gills at the start of the season in a deal that is set to expire at the end of this year.

“I know he is an MK Dons player but he’s been playing here and to have an under-21 international is a fantastic achievement for the club. All the players gave him a standing ovation in the dressing room (on Tuesday night). It is good news and I am really pleased for him.”

Tom FlanaganFlanagan, born in England but with Northern Irish ancestry, missed the weekend game against Scunthorpe with a thigh injury but was back on the bench in midweek, for the league match against Cheltenham.

Allen said: “He trained for the first time on Monday, after about 10 days off, and Tom is now fit and well. I thought it was probably a bit too early to bring him back.”

What do you make of Flanagan's call-up and what have you made of his performances with the Gills? Comment below.

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