The Most Exciting Irish Prospect At Every Premier League Club

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 Cathal Heffernan and Kevin Zefi moving to AC Milan and Inter Milan respectively.

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.

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 18-year old would even feature for the first team in the summer of 2021.

He is likely to leave The Emirates on loan for the first time this season. The midfielder has been capped by Ireland up to U19 level, most recently in the Euro qualifiers back in March.

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Aston Villa - Tyreik Wright

Tyreik Wright has yet to make his first team debut for Aston Villa, but he has impressed for Ireland at underage level. The Cork man has established himself as a key player in Jim Carwford's U21 side, featuring in all but one of their Euro qualifiers in the current campaign.

The winger had spells on loan at both Colchester United and Salford City last season, making 28 appearances in League Two in total. Another loan spell for the upcoming campaign seems likely.

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Brentford - Alex Gilbert

A Birmingham native, Alex Gilbert entered the West Brom academy at U9 level. He remained with the club up until 2020, at which point he would sign for Brentford on a free transfer.

Having lined out for their 'B' team, the winger spent the second half of last season on loan at Swindon Town. Gilbert made his Ireland U21 debut last year, since accumulating six caps.

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Brighton & Hove Albion - Evan Ferguson

Evan Ferguson is without doubt one of the brightest prospects in Ireland football at the moment.

The Dubliner 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.

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That looks like a wise decision, with the 17-year old having already made his Premier League debut and establishing himself as a fixture within the club's first team squad. At international level, he has impressed all the way up to U21.

 

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 towards the end of last season.

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

 

Chelsea - Michael Golding

Michael Golding looks like a fantastic prospect at Chelsea, with the 16-year old one of the most highly rated players in their academy.

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The central midfielder has previously earned one cap for Ireland at U16 level, in September of 2021. However, he has since played for England at that age level, even captaining them on a number of occasions.

He is still eligible to play for Ireland in the future.

 

Crystal Palace - Tayo Adaramola

Tayo Adaramola has the chance to be a top quality player. The 18-year old is viewed as one of the most talented Irish players currently coming through, making two appearances for Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last season. He also made his debut for the Ireland U21s earlier this summer.

The left back will spend the upcoming season on loan at Coventry City in the Championship, where he should vastly improve after receiving consistent playing time at a high level.

 

Everton - Thomas Cannon

Thomas Cannon has been at Everton for quite some time now, joining the club as a ten-year old. The Aintree native is a prolific goalscorer in their youth ranks, now operating in the U23 side.

He would score eight goals in PL2 last season, opening the current campaign with a goal and an assist against Blackburn last weekend. The 19-year old has been capped by Ireland up to U19 level.

 

Fulham - Ollie O'Neill

Despite having yet to make his first team debut at Fulham, Ollie O'Neill is very highly rated by the club. Having been linked with the likes of Spurs and West Ham in recent times, he would sign a new three-year deal at Craven Cottage last month.

The winger has made a number of appearances for Ireland at U21 level during the current Euro qualifying campaign, scoring the only goal in the vital win over Sweden late last year. Now 19-years old, he is likely to seek a loan move in the near future.

 

Leeds United - Cian Coleman

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A native of Yorkshire, Cian Coleman has been making quite the impact in the Leeds academy. He was included in The Guardian's 'Next Generation' list in 2021 which profiled 20 of the best prospects coming through at Premier League clubs.

The 17-year old has trained with the Leeds first team for quite some time but has yet to make his senior debut. The midfielder has played for Ireland at U18 and U19 level, most recently in a pair of friendlies against Iceland earlier this summer.

Dubbed by many at Leeds as the next Kalvin Phillips, Coleman is certainly one to keep an eye on in the future.

 

Leicester City - Liam McAlinney

Defender Liam McAlinney has been part of the Leicester City academy for a number of years now, becoming a fixture in their U18 side last season.

He was recently called up to the Ireland U19 squad for their training camp earlier this month.

 

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 last month. It is rumoured they forked out a fee of around £150,000 to bring him to Anfield.

The 16-year old is an exciting young winger, playing for Ireland up to U17 level. It will be interesting to see where his career goes from here.

 

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. Stephen Kenny has hinted in the past that a call-up is possible.

Delap has been part of the City first team squad for some time, making a few appearances for the club last season. A highly rated prospect, he has been linked with loan moves to a number of Premier League teams in recent times.

 

Manchester United -  Dermot Mee*

This is another case of a player who is eligible for Ireland as opposed to having any strong links to the Boys in Green.

Goalkeeper Dermot Mee is a native of Birmingham, but has played for Northern Ireland at youth level. The 19-year old has made a few appearances for the club over the last year or so, including starting their Premier League 2 opener against Arsenal last weekend.

Like Jack Patterson and Liam, he would be eligible to play for Ireland in the future.

 

Newcastle United - Alex Murphy

Galway native Alex Murphy has had quite the rise in recent times.

Playing with local club Galway United in the League of Ireland First Division only a few months ago, the 18-year old has quickly become part of the senior squad since his move to Newcastle United. He was part of their pre-season training camp this summer and made the bench for a number of friendlies.

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

 

Nottingham Forest - Osa Solomon

Osa Solomon has been part of the Nottingham Forest youth setup for quite some time now. The 18-year old right back has progressed steadily through the levels, currently finding himself in their U23 squad.

Soloman has been called up to a number of Ireland training camp, most recently at U19 level.

 

Southampton - Gavin Bazunu

Unlike the vast majority of players on this list, Gavin Bazunu is already well established at both first team and senior international level.

The Dubliner has earned ten caps for Ireland under Stephen Kenny, while he also looks set for his first season as a Premier League no. 1 after making a £15million move to Southampton earlier this summer.

 

Tottenham Hotspur - Troy Parrott

Troy Parrott has been a fixture in Ireland squads under Stephen Kenny, and while he has yet to make the breakthrough at Spurs, he does have plenty of experience at first team level.

He will spend the upcoming campaign on loan at Preston North End in the Championship where it will be expected that he will make some major strides in his development.

 

West Ham United - Mipo Odubeko

Mipo Odubeko has somewhat of a complicated history with Ireland, although he is now fully committed to the Boys in Green having scored his first goal for the country earlier this summer.

Having come through the youth ranks at Manchester United, the striker has made a handful of first team appearances since his move to West Ham. He had loan spells at Huddersfield Town and Doncaster Rovers last season and it will be expected that the 19-year old will move on a temporary switch once again for the upcoming campaign.

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers - Joe Hodge

Joe Hodge was one of the most highly rated prospects in the Manchester City academy not so long ago, but injuries would have a major impact on his progress. Having had an incredible for summer for Ireland at both the U17 and U19 Euros in the summer of 2019, he would go on to spend the best part of three years battling various ailments.

He would also move to Wolves after turning down a new deal at The Etihad, where he has been part of the first team squad in pre-season. The talented midfielder will now be hoping to get his career back on track having regained his fitness.

SEE ALSO: Shamrock Rovers' Group Stage Games To Be Broadcast Live On Irish TV

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