Building a cohesive team at international level can be a very difficult task. The limited amount of time that the players spend together means that teammates have a very small window in which to build relationships and becoming familiar with each other's games.
As a result, it can always help when your players also line up alongside each other at club level. It is no coincidence that some of the most successful international sides in recent times, such as the all-conquering Spanish side from 2008-2012 and Germany's World Cup winning side in 2014, drew largely from one or two teams to make up their squad.
Of course, Ireland do not have the likes of a Barcelona, Real Madrid, or Bayern Munich to call upon. In saying that, the relationship developing between a couple of our young building blocks can only be a good thing.
Dara O'Shea and Jayson Molumby know each other well, with their paths having crossed with Ireland youth teams back as far as U17 level.
They have played together numerous times in Irish colours since then, but their relationship has grown even more since Molumby joined the centre back at West Brom. Having moved to the Hawthorns on loan in the 2021/22 campaign, the move would be made permanent that summer.
The Waterford man has made huge strides in his game this season, featuring in all but one of the club's Championship fixtures and starting a huge majority of them. He has come on in leaps and bounds under Carlos Corberán, and speaking to the media ahead of Ireland's game against France on Monday, Molumby admitted that the new manager has made a huge impact on both himself and O'Shea
He’s been fantastic for us and the football club. That’s probably why the club gave him a new contract to tie him down because he’s really important and vital for us. For me and Dara, he’s been brilliant as well. Obviously he likes players with intensity and high energy.
For me, he’s taught me way more about understanding the game and maybe adding different elements to my game. I’ve been getting into the box a lot more, getting a couple more assists, a goal here and there. I should probably have a few more goals this season from the areas I’ve been getting into, so for me that’s been really good.
I’ve been delighted to listen to him to try to continue to improve.
Molumby was viewed as an exciting midfield prospect for quite some time, and while he was quickly integrated into the senior squad by Stephen Kenny, there were some concerns that his development was stagnating due to a lack of opportunities at Brighton.
However, the player is now very much on an upwards trajectory once again.
Dara O'Shea has been hugely impressed with the way his club and international teammate has performed in recent times.
He’s been outstanding this season. He’s kicked on big time and I’ve seen a big progression in him and obviously the new manager coming in at West Brom has helped him out a lot and he’s playing regular football.
He’s a massive part of the engine room at West Brom and here at Ireland. He’s got a great career ahead of him and he’s playing well at the minute.
O'Shea and Molumby have been teammates on an international stage for a number of years, although they have grown closer off the pitch since the latter's move to West Brom.
The pair have been on a similar trajectory for most of their career, resulting in plenty of shared experiences. O'Shea is 24-years old and has earned 17 Ireland caps, while Molumby is 23-years old with 18 Irish caps to his name. They have both captained sides at various age groups, with the centre back currently sporting the armband at club level.
They have also had their share of misfortune when it comes to injuries.
Jayson Molumby spent 15 months on the sidelines during his early days at Brighton. Back in 2017, he was out for seven months as a result of a serious knee injury. Having recovered from the ailment, he would suffer the exact injury once again up his return to be forced out for another eight months.
As for O'Shea, he has had to battle back from his own major setback over the last 18 months or so. Having just started to nail down a place in the Ireland team, he suffered a serious ankle injury during the game away to Portugal in September 2021 that would keep him out for five months. Even after being declared fit, it would take him some time to get back to his best.
Molumby admitted that he could relate to his teammate's struggles more than most during this period. He also summed up just how much of an important character the Dubliner is on and off the pitch.
He's been unbelievable, to be honest. He's a really good friend of mine.
I was able to relate a lot when he was out with his injury. He felt comfortable speaking to me about different things as he knew I could relate, when other lads probably couldn't relate to being out for so long.
When he got given the captain's armband at West Brom we were in a bit of a sticky situation. The fans were a bit upset, the club was in a bit of a poor position so for him to take that pressure with the performances he has, to lead us as he has done, it's a credit to him hats off to him. I love playing with him...
I feel we rub off well on each other. He's a cool, calmer head and I am a bit of a not so cool and calm head. He's a good guy.
Having had similar journeys in their careers and now starring alongside each other at both club and international level, you'd imagine the bond between these two will only grow stronger in the years ahead.
That can only be good news for Ireland.