After Jack Grealish's decision to represent England at full international level became clear, a lot of questions have been raised about the future of Irish football, and in particular, who is going to step up and lead the Irish national team of the future.
It's no doubt that losing Grealish is a blow to the Irish set-up, having had the young Villa star tog out for Ireland at underage level, but there are a number of promising talents currently working their way into professional football, and we've turned to the newly released FIFA 16 for guidance.
Of course you can never trust a video game to judge potenital (just ask Freddy Adu), but for the sake of curiosity we simmed 7 seasons of FIFA 16 Career Mode and took a look at the Irish squad. These are our findings:
Ryan Meara - 72 Overall - Age: 31
Unfortunately FIFA 16 is predicting bleak times ahead for the Irish goalkeeping position, as Ryan Meara who currently plays for New York City FC in the MLS is the best of the bunch. Keep in mind that Ireland U17 and Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher isn't in the game.
Brian Lenihan - 74 Overall - Age: 28
Hull City are back in the Premier League in 2022 and one of their key players is Ireland's Brian Lenihan. This was a name we were happy to see as big things are expected of the former Cork City youngster.
Tommie Hoban - 80 Overall - Age: 28
Ireland's leader and captain at the 2022 World Cup is Premier League standout Tommie Hoban. Please, please, please let FIFA be right on this one. We were hoping he would see some Premier League game time this season but again a lot is expected of Hoban.
Derrick Williams - 76 Overall - Age: 29
Currently at Bristol City, a man who is eligible to play for Ireland, Germany, and the USA, Williams settles into a solid Premier League CB and opts to stick with Ireland having represented us at U21 level.
Robbie Brady - 73 Overall - Age: 30
Still going strong at 30, and in charge of every set-piece, Brady becomes a vital player for Ireland.
Sean Murray - 79 Overall - Age: 28
Ireland's strength at the CDM position continues to grow, and after learning from James McCarthy (who went on to move to AC Milan by the way) Murray eventually took over as the heart of the Irish team.
Adam McDonnell - 76 Overall - Age: 25
Future Ireland captain material (on FIFA anyway), McDonnell, who runs the show for newly promoted Ipswich Town, managed to force his way into the Ireland squad for the World Cup and will no doubt be one to watch.
Harry Arter - 79 Overall - Age: 32
After enjoying a successful Premier League career, Arter continues to hold his place in the Irish team in what will be his last tournament in a similar role to what Wes Hoolahan has now.
Connor Ronan - 73 Overall - Age: 24
One of Ireland's brightest prospects in real life, U17 star Connor Ronan is tipped to be one of the most exciting players at the 2022 World Cup. Fingers crossed this one is an accurate prediction.
Zachary Elbouzedi - 80 Overall - Age: 24
A rising star of European football on FIFA 16, Elbouzedi (who has also impressed for the U17s in real life) is in the shop window after helping to secure European football for West Brom the previous season. Without a doubt Ireland's brightest prospect on FIFA 16.
Reece Grego-Cox - 74 Overall - Age: 25
Ireland's attack at Qatar 2022 is youthful and exciting as current Reading prospect Reece Grego-Cox managed to keep a 35 year old Shane Long out of the team. A pacey striker, one to keep an eye on.
Darren Randolph: 68 Overall - Age: 35
Still available despite not having a club.
Stephen Henderson: 66 Overall - Age: 34
Never did get his chance at #1.
Seamus Coleman: 71 Overall - Age: 33
Retiring after the tournament with 100+ caps.
Ciaran Clark: 72 Overall - Age: 32
Never could quite make the breakthrough.
Bradley Garmston: 73 Overall - Age: 28
Patiently waiting for Robbie Brady to retire.
Jeff Hendrick: 71 Overall - Age: 30
Unlucky to have made way for youth.
James McCarthy: 74 Overall - Age: 31
Plays a Schweinsteiger'esque role for Ireland.
Mark Mason: 70 Overall - Age: 19
The future in 2022, shame he's not a real player.
Mark Timlin: 73 Ovreall - Age: 27
One of two current LOI players in the squad.
Mikey Drennan: 72 Overall - Age: 28
The second LOI player in the squad.
Liam McAlinden: 72 Overall - Age: 28
Keeping the strong Championship striker tradition alive.
Shane Long: 68 Overall - Age: 35
Sure why not.
In conclusion, EA SPORTS clearly paid attention to Ireland's good showing at the U17 Euros this summer as Elbouzedi, Ronan, and Grego-Cox represent the digital future of Irish football. A few highly rated LOI players are also tipped to make it, and the subs bench is filled with experience.
As we could only see the tournament tree and squad statistics, Ireland unfortunately were eliminated at the group stages, with Harry Arter our top scorer on two goals. Lets hope that it's different if we do qualify for Qatar.