Football

Ireland Have Made An Approach To Highly Touted La Liga Prospect

Ireland Have Made An Approach To Highly Touted La Liga Prospect

After the controversies surrounding the international futures of the likes of Declan Rice and Jack Greliash, Stephen Kenny has moved to ensure such an incident does not occur again.

The Ireland manager has previously said that he feels those two players would still be playing with Ireland had their been a better structure in place between our underage sides and senior team. Kenny has been keen to make sure there is a seamless transition between age levels, something that will hopefully see young players given senior caps earlier in their careers if the talent is there.

This will also see Ireland continue their strategy of pursuing Irish-eligible players who have been born abroad. That includes Getafe's John Joe Patrick Finn.

Finn was born in Spain to an Irish father and Cameroonian mother, while he is also eligible for England. The 17-year old has made eight appearances for the Getafe first team in all competitions this season and is one of the most highly touted prospects in La Liga.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Ireland U21 boss Jim Crawford revealed that they are hopeful the youngster will come into the Irish setup. While England and Spain have also made approaches, Crawford felt the Irish pitch went very well.

Myself, Tom Mohan (Ireland U19 manager) and Stephen [Kenny] had a call a few weeks with John-Joe and his mother.

We had a good chat with both of them and was John-Joe was certainly blown away by the presentation that we put together.

We are certainly not going to rush him but we have made contact. He was overwhelmed and he certainly had a big smile on his face. I’ll be making contact with him in the near future to see if there has been any decision.

England and Spain’s U21s have made approaches, so he is very well sought after. All we can do is put our case forward and that’s certainly what we did. Again, the decision is in his hands...

When you break it down, he has been getting eight minutes here, three minutes there, two minutes here but he did play the full 90 minutes of Getafe’s Copa del Rey match.

I watched the game and he played well. He has been playing out on the right and the left in these games, but his most favourable position would be central midfield.

We had a good chat about that and that’s where he’s happiest. If that’s where he’s happiest, we’d be prepared to bring him in and play him there.

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Crawford was speaking after the draw for the U21 European Championship qualifiers was confirmed, with Ireland drawn in a group alongside Italy, Sweden, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Luxembourg. The first fixtures will take place in March.

Having come so close to qualification in the last campaign they will surely be hoping to go one better on this occasion.

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Gary Connaughton

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