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7 Players That Opted To Switch Allegiances From Ireland To England

7 Players That Opted To Switch Allegiances From Ireland To England
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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Ireland supporters were met with familiar news over the last couple of days, with it being reported that England were hoping to recruit one of the most talented youngsters in our underage setup.

Tom Cannon has stepped away from Irish duties in order to consider an offer to link up with the English U21s next season, with the player having also deleted references to his time in green from his Instagram account.

Of course, this is a road we have been down before.

In recent times, quite a few members of Ireland teams have opted to pursue an international future with England. Here are seven examples.

Ireland players that opted to play for England

Declan Rice

It makes sense to start with the most high profile case of the bunch.

Declan Rice lined out for Ireland from U16s all the way to senior level, making three friendly appearances in green under Martin O'Neill. Then, England came calling.

What followed was a long and drawn out process, one which resulted in a huge amount of speculation over the player's international future. Eventually, he would opt to commit to England.


The decision went down about as well as you would have expected, with Rice becoming an immediate figure of ridicule among Ireland supporters.

The midfielder has since gone on to establish himself as a key played under Gareth Southgate, winning 41 caps.

Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish never made a senior appearance for Ireland, although he appeared to be on the brink of doing so before considering his international future. He had made quite a few Irish appearances at various levels up to U21s.


He would eventually opt to play for England.

However, unlike Rice, he did so at a time when a senior call-up was far from a guarantee. The winger made his English U21 debut in 2016, two years after his last appearance for Ireland at that level. He would then have to wait another four years for his senior bow.

Grealish has since earned 31 caps and become the most expensive English play of all-time after his £100million move to Manchester City.


Michael Golding

Michael Golding is not a name that will be all that familiar to the general football fan, although his talent suggests that he might have a bright future in the game.

The 17-year old midfielder came through the ranks at Chelsea, currently acting as captain of their U18 team.

Born in England, he is eligible to play for Ireland and made one appearance for the side at U16 level in 2021. However, he has since committed to the English setup and has gone on to captain them at U17 level.


It is not out of the realms of possibility that he could opt to play for Ireland again at some point in the future.

Patrick Bamford

Patrick Bamford was a name that was linked with Ireland for quite some time.

His first international appearance came in green, lining out for Ireland at U18 level. He would soon link up with England, becoming a mainstay in their teams up to U21 level.


At this point, he was heavily linked with a move to Ireland at senior level. Mick McCarthy ask keen to bring him into the squad, with the player said to be considering it at the time.

He eventually decided that he would pursue his dream of playing for England, going on to earn one cap in 2021. Speaking around that, he explained why he rejected McCarthy's advances:

There was a point when, during my first season at Leeds, where Mick McCarthy did get in touch. I had a knee injury, so I was more focused on getting fit and making sure I could play the rest of the season for Leeds.

But, also, I felt because my heart had been committed to playing for England, and I had always dreamt of that, I felt it would be wrong to then play for Ireland to go and play international football just because they had asked me.

I just think that if I went and played for Ireland, just in order to play international football, when my dream as a little kid was always to play for England and somebody else’s dream might have been to always play for Ireland, and then I ended up taking that slot just because I felt like the England one might never come and it (Ireland) might be, without being disrespectful, the easy option because it’s been offered to me, then I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.

You certainly can't argue with that reasoning.


CJ Egan-Riley

A native of Manchester, CJ Egan-Riley made a couple of appearances for Ireland at U16 level.

After first joining Manchester as a seven-year old, he was one of the most highly rated players in the club's youth academy. He attracted England interest as a result, ultimately opting to pursue his international future with the nation of his birth.

Egan-Riley would join Burnley on a permanent deal in 2022, spending last season on loan at Hibernian. The 20-year old has represented England up to U19 level, although there have been some suggestions that he could return to Ireland in the future.

Michael Keane

A 12-cap England international, Michael Keane's first international opportunities actually came with Ireland. He made appearances in green at both U17 and U19 level, going on to commit to England in 2012.

Interestingly, his twin brother Will took the opposite approach. Having played for various English youth sides, he was called into Stephen Kenny's senior squad in 2021 and has earned four Irish caps.

Louie Barry

Despite being only 19-years old, Louie Barry has already had a very interesting career.

He came through the ranks at West Brom, being widely viewed as one of the best prospects in English football. Barcelona came calling as a result, with the forward joining the club in 2019, a move that resulted in legal action from West Brom.

Barry spent just one year in Spain before then joining Aston Villa, where he has since made a handful of senior appearances and went out on a number of loan moves.

At international level, he played before England at U15 level, before lining out for Ireland in both the U15 and U16 grades back in 2018.

He then moved into the English setup on a more permanent basis, with his last appearance for the country coming at U18 level in 2021.

It has been suggested over the last couple of years that he is still open to representing Ireland again at some point in the future.

SEE ALSO: Ireland U21 Boss Aims Thinly Veiled Dig At England After Tom Cannon Approach

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