The Most Exciting Irish Prospect At Every Premier League Club

The Most Exciting Irish Prospect At Every Premier League Club

Gary Connaughton By Gary Connaughton

There are a huge number of talented young Irish players making their way in the game at the moment, dotted across clubs in Ireland, the UK, and even further afield.

The nature of footballing development is changing in this country, with youth prospects now often being forced longer to make the move to England. Others are even opting for moves elsewhere, with the likes of Kevin Zefi moving to Inter Milan.

Despite this, there are still some top young talents at English clubs. We have attempted to identify the best Irish player coming through at each Premier League team.

There are a couple of caveats. Firstly, the player must be aged 20-years old or younger, with both academy and first team prospects eligible for inclusion. Secondly, a handful of clubs had no obvious eligible players meaning we had to get slightly creative.

With that in mind, here are the 20 players that have been included.

READ HERE: Harry Redknapp Talks Up Robbie Keane's Ireland Manager Credentials

Best Irish prospect at every Premier League Club

Arsenal - Jack Henry-Francis

English-born Jack Henry-Francis has been at the Arsenal academy for a number of years now, progressing all the way up to the club's U23 side. In fact, the now 20-year old would even feature for the first team in the summer of 2021.


The midfielder has yet to be given an opportunity in first team football, currently plying his trade in PL2. Henry-Francis made his Ireland U21 debut last summer, coming off the bench in the draw with Kuwait.


Aston Villa - Aaron O'Reilly

Aaron O'Reilly joined Aston Villa in the summer of 2020 having previously come through the ranks at St Pat's. The 19-year has been part of their U21 squad for the last couple of seasons.


The centre back has been capped by Ireland up to U19 level.


Brentford - Conor McManus

Conor McManus joined Brentford from Bray Wanderers in January of 2023, with the now 19-year old immediately brought into their 'B' team setup. He has gone on to nail down a place in the side since then.


The Cabinteely native made 16 appearances in the League of Ireland First Division before making the move to England.


Brighton & Hove Albion - Evan Ferguson

Evan Ferguson is the brightest prospect in Irish football at the moment.


The striker first made waves as a 14-year old at Bohemians when he featured in a friendly against Chelsea. He had his pick of clubs when he moved to England, ultimately opting for Brighton.

That looks like an incredibly wise decision, with the 19-year old having having gone on to establish himself as one of the most exciting young talents in world football. He has scored six goals for Brighton in the Premier League this season.

Ferguson is already arguably the key player in the Republic of Ireland team despite his age, with the player set to have a long and successful career in green over the next two decades.



Burnley - Alex Healy-Byrne

Alex Healy-Byrne joined Burnley from Cork City in 2022, signing two-year deal at the club.

The right back has yet to feature at first team level.



Bournemouth - Ben Greenwood

English-born Ben Greenwood was somewhat of a late developer, not being picked up by a professional club until he was 16-years old when he finally joined Bournemouth. He has since progressed nicely through the club's youth sides and made some first team appearances in friendlies, before joining National League side Weymouth on loan in 2021/22.

The left back has been called up to train with Ireland at underage level but has yet to be capped by the country.


Chelsea - Shaun Wade

Born in Bristol, exciting young winger Shaun Wade initially joined local club Bristol City before signing for Chelsea while we still a under-14 level.

The player was first capped by Ireland at U16 level, going on to make his U17 debut in 2022.


Crystal Palace - Tayo Adaramola

Tayo Adaramola has the chance to be a top quality player. The 20-year old is viewed as a very exciting prospect, although he has yet to make a first team breakthrough at Crystal Palace.

The left back joined on loan at Coventry City in the Championship last season, although he was recalled a few weeks later. The left back has been capped four times by Ireland at U21 level and was part of the squad back in November.


Everton - Braiden Graham*

This one comes with a couple of caveats.

Not only has Braiden Graham not yet joined Everton (the 16-year old is set to sign from Linfield this month), but he also lines out for Northern Ireland at underage level.

Still, he is the only eligible player we came across for this list.



Fulham - Ollie O'Neill


We are making an exception for this inclusion. Ollie O'Neill is now 21-years old, meaning he does not meet the criteria for this list.

Still, he is the only Irish youth player on the books at Fulham at the minute. He has yet to make a senior appearance for the club, although he has impressed in PL2 this season. The winger has been capped eight times by Ireland at U21 level, including back in November.



Liverpool - Trent Kone-Doherty

Having come through the ranks at Derry City, it wasn't long before Trent Kone-Doherty was attracting attention from some of the biggest clubs in England. He ultimately opted to sign for Liverpool, joining the club in the summer of 2022. It is rumoured they forked out a fee of around £150,000 to bring him to Anfield.

The 17-year old winger has been making waves on Merseyside. After scoring 11 goals for their U18 side last season, he has already notched six goals and two assists in seven appearances at that level in the current campaign. He has also made five appearances for their U21 side, scoring once.

The youngster has been called up to train with the Liverpool first team on a number of occasions.

Having already player for Ireland up to U17 level, he looks like a prime candidate to be quickly moved through the various youth categories.


Luton Town - Sam Anderson*

Sam Anderson joined Luton Town from Dungannon Swifts in 2023, with the player linking up with their U18 squad.

He has featured for Northern Ireland at youth level.


Manchester City - Liam Delap*

Okay, this one might be a bit of a reach, but there aren't any other options in the Manchester City system.

Liam Delap has only featured for England at international level, but he has been linked with a switch to Ireland in order to follow in the footsteps of his father Rory by pulling on the green jersey. Who knows, perhaps the potential appointment of his England U21 manager Lee Carsley as Ireland boss could sway him to switch over the coming years?

Delap has been part of the City first team squad for some time, making a few appearances for the club in recent seasons. A highly rated prospect, he has scored seven goals on loan at Hull City in the Championship this season.


Manchester United -  Shea Lacey*

Much like Delap, this inclusion is based more on hope than expectation.

Shea Lacey is viewed as arguably the most exciting prospect in the Manchester United academy at the minute. He plays for England at underage level, although he has strong Irish links and there have been suggestions that the FAI are keen to get him on board.

It remains to be seen if the 16-year old would be interested in the switch, but he would be a major coup if they could pull it off.


Newcastle United - Alex Murphy

Galway native Alex Murphy has had quite the rise over the last year or two.

Playing with local club Galway United in the League of Ireland First Division in 2022, the 19-year old was quickly integrated into the senior squad since his move to Newcastle United. First becoming part of their pre-season training camps last and being in the squad for a number of friendlies, he would go on to make his Premier League debut at the end of 2023.

A left back by trade, he has been capped by Ireland up to U19 level.


Nottingham Forest - Theo Avery

English-born goalkeeper Theo Avery came through the ranks at Mansfield Town, with the player being poached by Nottingham Forest last summer. The 17-year old has since been drafted into the club's U18 squad.

He has been called up by Ireland at U18 level but has yet to make his debut.


Sheffield United - Connor Barratt 

A Birmingham native, Connor Barratt came through the ranks at Birmingham City before joining Sheffield United in 2022. He would step into the club's U21 squad.

The 19-year old joined National League club Solihull Moors on loan earlier this season. He has been capped by Ireland up to U16 level, although he was also included in the U18 squad a couple of years ago.


Tottenham Hotspur - Josh Keeley

Having joined from St Pat's in 2022, Josh Keeley is highly thought of at Spurs. He made 31 appearances for the club in PL2 last season.

The goalkeeper would join National League club Barnet on loan earlier this month, already playing twice in the division. The Dunboyne native has been installed as the first choice Ireland U21 goalkeeper since the start of the current Euro qualifying campaign and has impressed with his performances.


West Ham United - Sean Moore

Sean Moore was at the centre of an international tug-of-war in 2023, with both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland looking to bring the Belfast native on board. Despite having initially lined out for the North up to U18 level and being tipped for a senior call-up, he would declare for Ireland and make his U19 debut back in March.

The winger would sign for West Ham last summer, with the club forking out a fee of around £200,000 to sign him from Cliftonville. The 18-year old has made seven appearances in PL2 this season.


Wolverhampton Wanderers - Nathan Fraser

Born in Wolverhampton, Nathan Fraser has been at his local club since the age of seven. He has progressed through the ranks since then, with the 20-year old currently lining out at PL2 level. He has scored three goals in six appearances this season.

The striker has made a couple of appearances for the first team in the Carabao Cup, scoring one goal and assisting another in a 5-0 win over Blackpool back in August.

The player has been capped by Ireland up to U19 level.

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