Football

Teenage League Of Ireland Star Looks Set For Premier League Move

Teenage League Of Ireland Star Looks Set For Premier League Move

According to a report in the Sunday Independent today, one of the League of Ireland's brightest young stars could be on his way to the Premier League champions, Leicester City.

UCD midfielder Dylan Watts only completed his Leaving Cert in June but after impressing in UCD's Europa League run last summer - despite only breaking into the side in the February-he looks set to sign terms with the Foxes.

Watts will be a big loss to UCD as they seek promotion to the Premier Division. Manager Collie O'Neill told the SIndo that he believes Watts could feature as a senior international in the not too distant future.

He has great feet, is very comfortable on the ball, and has great courage, always wanting to get on the ball. He has a great future ahead of him, and if he continues to make the progress he has made in the last two years I see no reason why he can't make the Irish team.

If he does make the Irish set-up it will add another number to the extensive list of players fostered in the League of Ireland who have featured for the Republic in recent years - though if former Dundalk dynamo Richie Towell's struggles at Brighton are anything to go by, Watts still has a struggle on his hands to establish himself in the English game.

All the same, it is nevertheless an exciting development for Irish football and, of course, for Dylan Watts.

Update: Watts' transfer to Leicester was confirmed on UCD's website on Thursday 1st September. Watts was quoted as saying the following:

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I'm really looking forward to the challenges ahead. It is a big opportunity for me, and it is brilliant to be joining the Premier League champions. I'd like to thank Collie, Pat and Evan for giving me my opportunity in the first team and I owe a lot to them for believing in me at such a young age. Also to the players and all the staff around UCD who were fantastic during my time there.

And in the aftermath of his signing being announced, Collie O'Neill expressed his delight at the move and his optimism at the young Blackrock man's career prospects.

Dylan is one of the best players I've ever had the pleasure of working with, technically very good with good quick feet. He's made great strides in the last 2 years from not being a regular in our Under 19s to being one of the first names I put on the teamsheet for the first team. If he continues to make the same progression, then there's no reason why he can't eventually make his Premiership debut.

As for UCD AFC, they said that they "would like to wish him the very best for the future and would like to thank him for his service to the club."

See also: Watch: Major Blunder From Keiren Westwood Gifts Goal To Brentford

Conall Cahill

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