The Guardian have singled out 10 players from the second tier of English football to be given the honour of being named the most eye-catching in the division.
They love a good list over at The Guardian and we have to admit we love seeing an Irish player come in for some praise whenever they make it, so we were happy to see two Irish players miss the list... Well, three-ish, as there is still some confusion surrounding the international future of Brentford's Scott Hogan.
The second player to make the cut is Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane, and he's from Bandon, Co.Cork, so there's no doubting his international allegiance.
And finally, Ireland U21 international Olamide Shodipo is on the list as the 19 year old was singled out for some love by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink before the Dutchman was sacked by QPR.
Here's the list:
Tammy Abraham - Bristol City
Scott Hogan - Brentford
Conor Hourihane - Barnsley
Pontus Jansson - Leeds United
Aaron Mooy - Huddersfield Town
Jacob Murphy - Norwich City
Hildeberto Pereira - Nottingham Forest
Jonjo Shelvey - Newcastle United
Olamide Shodipo - QPR
Anthony Knockaert - Brighton & Hove Albion
And here is what Guardian writer Nick Miller had to say about each player after including them in the list:
cott Hogan is a former team-mate of Jamie Vardy at FC Halifax and he could have been forgiven for giving up the whole football thing as a bad business in April 2015. That was when he suffered his second cruciate ligament injury, in a training-ground drill, nine months after the first, on his league debut for Brentford. But he eventually, slowly, made his way back, scoring seven goals in the final four games of last season, and picked up where he left off this term. He has scored eight times as he spearheads a team who continue to surprise by lurking within striking distance of the play-off spots. Hogan can be one of those players who does not offer a huge amount when he is not scoring goals but in the penalty box he is deadly.
Barnsley’s squad is, frankly, absurdly young. Their oldest player is Adam Hammill, a creaking geezer at 28 and he is one of only two players aged over 26 to have made a first-team appearance for them this season. In the middle of all this youth is Conor Hourihane, the 25-year-old Irish central midfielder with a calm head and the captain’s armband, an elegant playmaker with a fierce shot in his left boot and a youth team contemporary of Jordan Henderson. Appointed captain last season, he was one of the key men in Barnsley’s remarkable turnaround as they went from the bottom of League One in November to promotion via the play-offs in May. His contract is up at the end of the season and, although it would be pleasing to see how far he could take this talented group of youngsters, bigger and more glamorous things might be in store for Hourihane.
One to keep an eye on. While life at Queens Park Rangers is again in flux after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s departure, their fans have at least been treated to the relatively rare sight of a highly promising, homegrown youngster shining in their first team. The Dublin-born winger signed his first professional contract only this year but has established himself in the QPR squad and the Republic of Ireland Under-21 side and, although he is a distance from being a polished player, Hasselbaink chose to keep the 19-year-old at Loftus Road in the summer rather than sending him out on loan. “He’s got that rawness,” said the Dutchman before his sacking. “He’s not afraid, he has that streetness and that fight. It’s getting that discipline in him now and that knowhow and that really needs time.”
Great to see them being singled out for praise, Hourihane has been involved in provisional squads under Martin O'Neill before, and Hogan is someone that the FAI are hoping to declare in the near future which looks likely judging by Alan Judge's recent comments. Shodipo is an exciting talent to keep an eye on, so we will surely see both in an Ireland jersey soon.
You can read about the other prospects in the full article over on The Guardian.