Football

Irish Underage International Signs First Professional Deal In La Liga

Irish Underage International Signs First Professional Deal In La Liga

This lad has a big future ahead of him.

We're used to seeing British-born players line out for Ireland at international level, but our youth sides have become a bit more varied in recent times.

German born Conor Noss recently made his debut for the Ireland U21 side, while Getafe player John Joe Patrick Finn has also declared for country.

Then you have Caden McLoughlin, someone who has already made an impact in the underage sides.

McLoughlin has lived in Spain from an early age, with his mother hailing from Finglas. He came through the system at Malaga, before joining Villarreal last year.

He has also starred for Ireland at U15 level, including this fantastic strike against the Netherlands last year.

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Now 16-years old, the forward has been tearing it up in the Villarreal underage sides. So much so, in fact, that he has just been handed his first professional contract at the club.

McLoughlin is now part of a growing Irish influence in La Liga.

John Joe Patrick Finn has made six appearances for Getafe in La Liga this season, making his debut as a 16-year old. He is also joined at the club by Clare native Ryan Nolan who had previously been on the books at Inter Milan.

We are likely to see more players born on the continent represent Ireland moving forward.

Last year, we spoke to McLoughlin's Ireland U15 boss Jason Donohue explained how players the FAI are trying to make Ireland an attractive proposition for players such as the Villarreal youngster:

When they come into us they come down and they are part of the squad. They’re young kids, the parents might have decisions to make as they get a little bit older.

It’s important we show them what we do in our country, the standard of our players...

As they get older, if they change their mind or go down a different path, maybe their father’s or mother’s country, there’s not much we can do about that at that time.

We’ve just got to make sure that we do our job correctly over here so that they don’t want to go anywhere else.

We're hopeful that this lad will play a big part for Ireland in the years to come.

SEE ALSO: The Squad From The Infamous US Tour Of 2007: Where Are They Now?

Gary Connaughton

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