With the vast bulk of our Irish internationals set to kick off their season, Bill Gaine of Irish Football Blog gives his 5 players to watch out for this season.
(1)Tyler Goodrham – Oxford United
A new name to most Irish Football Fans, but somebody you will be hearing a lot more about in the coming months. Tyler is the latest Irish Eligible player to be making waves in the Football League but despite not receiving an Irish Call-Up yet, but he does want to represent Ireland.
Tyler is a versatile footballer, most commonly used as a winger with 64 senior appearances to his name despite not turning (20) until this coming August. These appearances have been accumulated across a good mix of competitions, from the National League and League One to the FA Cup. He is currently on seven goals and two assists at senior level.
Of that record, a large amount came from last season’s total where in 22/23 he had forty-four games, four goals and two assists, from which his performances have reportedly caught the eye of Championship clubs.
A silky dribbler with a low centre of gravity and an eye for a pass and a goal. He’s someone I’m excited to see in future Ireland Underage Squads.
(2) Promise Omochere – Fleetwood Town
Promise (22)is a player I’ve enjoyed watching and have rated highly since he played with Bohemians 2018-2022. Primarily a winger in his schoolboy days, but a growth spurt from 5’7 to 6’2 in his late teens saw him often utilised as a striker.
Promise is big, strong and fast extremely fast at that, he is also direct and will often drive at opposition defence with confidence, quality and composure. The transition from League of Ireland to League One in his first season was always going to be interesting to see especially with regards to game-time but he had a more than respectable first season playing thirty-four games getting seven goals and two assists, mainly playing as RW but also as a striker.
His style of play and physical attributes reminds me a lot about Ogbene (more on him later) and I think he could be a big player for Ireland in the future and play higher up the leagues.
(3) Harry Vaughan – Championship
A player I’ve covered fairly extensively on Irish Football Blog including in my Scouting Series when he was in National League with Oldham. Vaughan (19) is an intelligent midfielder who is quick with the ball at his feet with an extremely high ceiling.
His rise in the last six months is remarkable but not surprising, going from playing on loan with Radcliffe in the Northern Premier League which is Step 7 of the English Football pyramid. By the 31st of January, he had signed for Hull City after a successful trial period on an 18-month deal in Step 2 of the English Football pyramid. By April he had won Hull City’s Player of the Month at the second-highest level of English Football.
Head Coach Liam Rosenior has said the following about Vaughan “He’s so fearless, he’s tiny, he’s a dot. He’s got a massive heart; he’s got a great mentality & I love him as a young player”.
Such was his impressive performances in his first six months that on the 23rd of June, he signed a new deal with the club and is poised for another big season. Harry is an example to us all of the talent that can be unearthed at all levels of the pyramid if someone puts belief in them.
(4) Jack Taylor – Ipswich Town
Having been released from Chelsea in 2012 at 15 years of age, Taylor signed with Barnet in 2012, and he would make his senior debut for them not long after coming on a sub in a 3–1 Herts Senior Cup win over Hatfield Town on 3 December 2013. As recently as the 2019-20 season he was playing for Barnet in the National League.
However, on the 7th of January 2020, he joined Peterborough for an initial fee of £500,000. He scored 22 goals in 138 games in three seasons for the Posh showing he was far too good for League One and more than good enough for the Championship. When Peterborough missed out on promotion through the playoffs Taylor was always destined for a move up the divisions again.
True to his word about never standing in the way of players progressing and developing themselves. Darragh MacAnthony and Peterborough agreed on a deal to sell him to Ipswich and his announcement video talking about Jack is well worth a watch! The highlight of the video was when he said that all the championship clubs who didn’t come in for Taylor have “f**ked up”💚. To me, there is few if any better judge of a player in the English Football pyramid than DMAC and so that endorsement of Taylor’s credentials speaks for itself.
As a midfielder, Taylor is an all-action number 8 who offers security on the ball while also being a creative threat. A Kenny-type player whose ball-playing ability will suit his ideal technical/progressive system and the opportunity to work with McKenna at Ipswich will only bring on his game further.
It hasn’t quite happened for Taylor at senior International level for Ireland yet, despite being named as U21 INT Footballer of the Year in 2020 he has failed to break into the Kenny side (yet). However, Kenny praised him after the Bristol training camp where he showed tremendous resilience to join up only days after his playoff heartbreak. “Jack has had a good season and I think he has a great future ahead of him”
With or without Kenny long-term, he has a big part to play for Ireland in the future. At (25) there’s plenty of time for him. Keith Andrews didn’t play for Ireland until he was (28) after all
(5) Chiedoze Ogbene – Luton Town
I remember watching Ogbene play for my local team Cork City in 2016 and at the time while his talent was clear, he was raw and very raw at that. Furthermore, I’ll be honest I questioned his motives for moving to Limerick in 2017, I thought it could be about money, I thought it was short-sighted, but he proved me wrong and a lot of people in Cork at that I feel.
But to his credit made the move to Limerick count playing thirty-seven times, scoring ten goals and providing eight assists. He wouldn’t be playing League of Ireland Football any longer signing for Brentford in the Championship on the 30th of January 2018 on a three-and-a-half-year contract for an undisclosed fee.
It wouldn’t quite work out for Ogbene making nine appearances for them across two seasons but look at where Brentford are now, look how they operate their recruitment even the fact that Brentford saw something in Ogbene shows the potential this man had. Ogbene had to put in the hard yards making seventeen appearances for League Two Exeter City it wasn’t until he signed for Rotherham United till it really started to click for him in England.
In his first season with the club in 19/20 he had one goal and seven assists in twenty-nine matches, but the following season in the Championship he only played twelve times. 2021/22 was a breakout season for him playing fifty-three games, scoring four goals and assisting eleven times, he would also make his Ireland debut. You may wonder why I am going into such detail. Well, context and background are key when discussing Ogbene.
That same season on 16/11/2021 I tweeted, “Ogbene’s rise will be similar to Jamie Vardy mark my words☘️🇮🇪” I have continued to tweet these comparisons for the best part of two years, but people are starting to see it too. Ogbene is stylistically remarkably similar to Vardy with both of them having breathtaking pace and their parallels continue developmentally with both of them being late-bloomers also.
After the 22/23 season, he scored nine goals, giving four assists and his stock rose to such a level that a move abroad or higher up the Championship was touted, but when newly promoted Luton Town announced him as a signing on the 27th of June, it took everyone by surprise. It now meant that Ogbene will become a Premier League player at (26), Vardy didn’t join the league until he was (27).
Ogbene is not a carbon copy of Vardy, Ogbene is more versatile being able to play anywhere down the right, a powerful, fast, confident dribbler who can get crosses in. In his last season with Rotherham, he played RW, SS, CF, LM and RM. His versatility will be key for a Luton side who themselves are tactically flexible playing variations of a -34-1-2 / 3-5-2 / 5-3-2. Ogbene is not a guaranteed starter he will have to work hard to make the team but if/when he does I think he could have a Vardy level of impact in the Premier League, maybe not as an elite goal-scorer (although you never know) but he could certainly be as effective as Vardy was in his prime.