4 Irish-Eligible Players At European Clubs

By Gavin Cooney
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It has emerged today that the FAI are out in front of the three-way wrangle for the services of Ryan Johansson, the 17-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder. Ireland mining academies beyond Britain is going to become a far more regular occurrence in years to come, so in that spirit, here are a few other Irish -eligible players plying their trade across the continent.

Ryan Nolan - Inter Milan 

Teenage defender Nolan grew up in Clare before turning an annual holiday in Spain to a football apprenticeship. From there he caught the eye of a few clubs, with Villareal the most interested. Before he signed terms there, however, Inter Milan acted swiftly to bring the then-16-year-old Nolan to Italy. Now 19, Nolan made his senior debut with the club during pre-season. He will train with the senior squad this season, meaning this could be a very big season for Nolan.

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For more reading on Nolan, we recommend this interview with RTE.

Brendan Hines-Ike - Orebro SK 

It emerged last month that the FAI are interested in capping the defender, who is in the process of acquiring the Irish passport he is entitled to owing to his grandfather's heritage.


The 23-year-old played college football before he move to Sweden. He has attracted attention from other European clubs, and recently moved to the Vincent Tan-owned K.V. Kortrijk in the Belgian top flight.


Orebro technical director Magnus Skoldmark acknowledged the interest back in May and added that Hines-Ike is one of the best defenders in Swedish football.

"It is only speculation and rumors and nothing I want to go into now," said Skoldmark.


"He is one of the most talented central defenders in the Allsvenskan and he is doing well now. There is interest from other clubs."

A mobile defender who is comfortable on the ball, Hines-Ike would be an interesting addition to Martin O'Neill's options.



Caoimhin Fowler - FC Dordrecht

Fowler was born in Ireland but grew up in Australia, and although he has played for Ireland at under-17 level, he remains eligible for senior selection by the Socceroos. He signed a three-year professional contract with Vitesse Arnhem in 2015 but his career stalled somewhat: he  moved to Wolves FC last year but is now back in Holland, playing with FC Dordrecht in the Dutch second tier.

Robin Walsh - Anderlecht 


Walsh is a defensive midfielder playing with Belgian giants Anderlecht also capable of playing at left-back. Walsh has been capped at under-17 and under-18 level by Ireland and though he was born in Belgium, he qualifies for Ireland through his Irish-born father. He is still eligible to play for Belgium, although has yet to make a senior breakthrough at Anderlecht, a lack of progress which can partly be ascribed to his sustaining a lengthy knee injury.

See Also: The Balls.ie A-Z Of Transfer Window Bollocks

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