The UEFA Youth League is an interesting competition for those who like to look ahead to the future of top flight football. It's rather simple, the teams that qualify for the Champions League also qualify for the Youth League and, as a result, the best youth players on the continent then, conceivably, get a chance to test their skills against the very best.
It's a good idea and one which should see quite a few careers given a very helpful springboard. One such career could well be that of Dubliner Jack Byrne. The 18 year old Dubliner has slowly but surely crept on to many people's radar in the past few months and a lot of that has been down to his performances in the Youth League.
And it's not just in Ireland that he's getting noticed. Bleacher Report have put together a list of the 50 best players in this year's renewal of the tournament and Byrne is riding high in 39th place.
The Man City midfielder has been is superb form for his club this year and he's recently been training with the first team with suggestions that he could make a matchday squad before the end of the season.
If we can be quietly confident that Byrne could be a significant part of the Irish set-up in the near future, things are less clear for a player who sits a bit higher in the Youth League rankings. Arsenal's Dan Crowley tops the list with Bleacher Report effusive in their praise of the young midfielder.
Crowley is a calm controller who dominates the midfield and dictates play. He's goal-happy, assist-happy, key pass-happy and takes the game by the scruff of the neck.
He's a set-piece specialist and an overall leader to his peers. Basically, there's very little to pick out that isn't already very, very good.
As you may know however, Crowley's situation is not quite as promising as Byrne's. The Arsenal man represented Ireland up to u17 level but has since switched allegiances to England. Having said that, no final decision has been made, not publicly at least, and many have speculated, including his old GAA coach, that he could still switch back to Ireland before senior level.
We're not looking to start yet another Ireland/England granny rule debate but it is certainly interesting to see, along with Byrne, the kind of talent Ireland could potentially call upon in the next couple of years.