While the Irish player presence in the Premier League has gradually dwindled in recent years, this season brings renewed hope an Irishman will make it big in the Premier League as every single club in the English first division has at least one Irish player on their payroll.
Only ten Irish players have made it in the Professional Footballers’ Association Men’s Players’ Player of the Year, and if Doherty had been included last season he would have been only the 11th Irish man to make the end of year team since the start of the Premier League. Doherty had a great season but probably didn’t make it because he played in a ‘smaller’ team, Wolverhampton. Statistics show that the top four usually dominates the team, on average 9 of the 11 players have come from clubs who secured a top-four finish.
Which young Irish players could one day make the list? Let’s have a look!
Arsenal – Nathan Tormey
Tormey signed a professional contract at the end of the 2016/17 season, but he’s since been plagued by injuries. He has been with Arsenal since joining as an under-12 but actually began with Tottenham Hotspur at the age of 8. Will hopefully kick on after some impressive showings with the U23s last season. The attacking midfielder still needs to make his first appearance in the Premier League. The young talent is currently 19 years old.
Bournemouth – Mark Travers
The young goalkeeper broke into the first team towards the end of last season. Travers signed for English club AFC Bournemouth in July 2016, aged 17. The Maynooth native recently signed a long-term contract with the club, something he said he was delighted with. The 20-year old made his debut for Bournemouth on 4 May 2019 in a 1–0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Upon doing so, he became the first teenage goalkeeper since Joe Hart in 2006 to start a Premier League match and made several saves to help the club record its first-ever victory over Tottenham, with Travers keeping a clean sheet and receiving Man of the Match for his performance.
Brighton – Jayson Molumby
The Ireland U21 captain was named in the top four best players in the Toulon tournament and has bounced back from injury to star in Stephen Kenny’s side. Molumby was born in Cappoquin. He started his career at Railway Athletic before playing for a short period for Villa FC. Molumby is comfortable playing in any form of a central midfield role, be it attacking or defensive and has high energy levels. He is confident on the ball, looking to make probing passes.
Leicester City – Ali Reghba
Reghba was born in Germany but is of Irish descent on his maternal side, thus eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland. The former Bohemians man has already shown his skills playing for Ireland’s U19s but could still choose to play for Germany if he would want to make the transition. The young player made a move to Leicester City for an undisclosed fee having impressed while on trial with the Foxes at the start of this year.
Chelsea – George Nunn
George Nunn is a left-sided attacking player who joined the Chelsea Academy. He was initially spotted by the Chelsea national recruitment team and was monitored closely as someone who can play anywhere across the front three. He signed his first professional deal with the club last November and featured in the recent Republic of Ireland Under-18 squad under Andy Reid. The forward is only 17 years old and is currently playing for the FC Chelsea U18.