With the big news in Irish football this week being the addition of Mikey Johnston to the ranks after his switch from Scotland! It’s time we look at who could be next to follow suit in pulling on the beautiful green jersey. I’ve put together a list of five players we could see who could follow in Mikey Johnston footsteps!
- CJ Egan Riley
Despite representing Ireland in the Victory Shield in 2018, Egan-Riley has played for England ever since but hasn’t been called up since 2021. I personally feel this would be a huge coup for the FAI if they could get him on board again. Cj is an extremely talented defender who can also play midfield and has played in the Champions League for Man City in March 2022. He has since gone on to sign for Burnley in the summer of 2022 but has since joined Hibernan on loan in January! Egan-Riley was born in 2003 so he would be a key player in the upcoming u21’s campaign. Cj also has a younger brother, Roman who plays for Man City u17’s who I can reveal is very interested in representing Ireland and this is something we should keep an eye out for!
Another lad who has previously represented Ireland in the same Victory Shield tournament as Egan Riley! A first cousin of Jude Belligham, Louie is a player who hasn’t quite lived up to the hype since scoring on first team debut for Aston Villa in the FA Cup against Liverpool in 2021. After playing for Ireland at u15 and u16 level Barry left West Brom for the Barcelona academy and also switched international allegiances to England. Despite the rise to fame Louie has not represented England since 2021 and has had underwhelming loans at Ipswich, Swindon and MK Dons. He joined Salford City on loan in January and has impressed mainly operating as a left winger. He seems to be well off an England u21 call up and a call up from Jim Crawford to the new u21 campaign could very well tempt him to commit to Ireland!
- Paul Nebel
Nebel is a very interesting case as he himself has declared interest in representing Ireland saying “I don’t have an Irish passport yet, but I’m thinking about applying for it because I have it inside me and I feel that I have roots there, which I’m proud of.” Despite this he has always played for Germany and only just captained their u20’s last year. Paul made his debut for Mainz in the DFB-Pokal in 2020 and is now on loan at Karlsruher in Bundesliga 2. He’s only registered 1 goal and 2 assists in 22 games in all comps. Nebel is the type of player we lack in the Irish set up at the moment with his technical ability and the talent to go past men! It is unknown how far the FAi have reached in their attempts to turn Nebel into an Irish international but it certainly something we need to keep an eye out on for.
Paul Nebel (Mainz)
- Charlie McNeil
McNeill scored over 600 goals for Man City joined Man Utd at u18 level where he scored 23 goals in his first season at the Red Devils, qualifies for Ireland through his Roscommon born grandfather. Despite being so clinical in front of goal, McNeill hasn’t received an England call up since 2021. Despite always representing England there is interest from himself and family to play for Ireland and the FAI are on the case to tempt him our way! I personally feel McNeill is a very realistic target for the FAI and wouldn’t be surprised to see him play in green soon! Charlie is currently on loan at Newport County where his strike partner is Ireland underage international Calum Kavanagh, have a word Calum!
- Aaron Donnelly
Aaron Donnelly is the only Irish born player on this list as he hails from Derry! Donnelly has not represented Ireland as he’s always played with Northern Ireland. Despite only playing for the North the Nottingham Forest defender who is on loan at Port Vale has expressed major interest in playing for the Republic! Donnelly is a versatile defender who can operate at left back and left centre back which is a position Ireland is quite weak on which leads me to believe we need to get on his case big time! Also being a catholic from Derry with a GAA background may have an impact on where his heart may lay. This is a situation I’m interested in following!
Let me know which players you feel are more likely to play for the boys in green and who in particular you’d like to see wear the green jersey!
Conor McEvoy (@reptracker)
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