With Ireland’s next manager set to be named in the not so distant future, we take a look at some granny rule options that could be very realistic recruits for the incoming boss. Interestingly, several have worked under one of the men heavily linked with the job…..
Kasey McAteer (Leicester City)
It seems that Kasey McAteer’s switch to Ireland will only be a matter of time having been approached in the dying embers of the Stephen Kenny era. Ironically, McAteer has hardly played for Leicester since that announcement due to injury but has recently found his way back into the Foxes starting XI as they continue to top the Championship. The Northampton-born 22 year-old would add some much needed depth to Ireland’s wide options and could be a Premier League player come the summer if his clubs momentum continue. It seems likely that barring injuries and paperwork issues, McAteer could be the fresh name in the new managers squad in March
Denis Cirkin (Sunderland)
Like McAteer, Denis Cirkin is another Irish eligible player that was name checked by Stephen Kenny last year prior to his sacking. The Dublin-born winger of Latvian parentage has represented England all the way up to under-20 level and has also been chased by his parents nation. The bad news, is that the 21 year old has endured a retched time with injuries and will miss the next three months of action with Sunderland after hamstring surgery. Left-back is a problem position for Ireland and having been linked with a move back to boyhood side Spurs last season, Cirkin would certainly be a huge asset if he was to come on board.
Liam Delap (Hull city-On loan from Manchester City)
Son of thunderthower Rory, Liam Delap has been long linked with a switch to the country his father represented 11 times. The Manchester City loanee has netted 7 time for Hull, one goal behind their top scorer this season Aaron Connolly. Should he become an international teammate of Connolly remains to be seen but what is clear, is that the striker is currently part of Lee Carsley’s England under-21 side and a change of allegiance may prove to be tedious. Ireland have built quite a bit of depth up top in recent years, but Delap possesses the quality to leapfrog some of the forward in the existing Ireland squad should his development continue.
Liam Kitching (Coventry City)
Former Leeds youth Liam Kitching is enjoying a fruitful first season with Coventry City having joined from Barnsley. A left-sided centre-back, 24 year-old Kitching has been an integral part of the bluebirds side which turned early season struggles around to currently sit just inside the play-off places. What would work against the defender is the fact that Ireland possess a plethora of quality centre-backs but the fact he is left-footed and in form may provide the new Ireland manager with an alternative option that could offer balance to the squad. There has been no public word from the player regarding his eligibility but he may come into spotlight should Coventry’s promotion push prove successful.
Jonjoe Kenny (Hertha Berlin)
Liverpool born Jonjoe Kenny’s name would suggest Irish heritage, and that was confirmed by the official Budesliga website when he signed for Hertha Berlin in 2022. who have since dropped down a division. Formerly of Celtic and Everton where he racked up 50 appearances as an understudy to Seamus Coleman, Kenny is another player on this list to have worked under Lee Carsley in the underage ranks of England. With Coleman due to turn 36 this year and Matt Doherty entering veteran status, the incoming manager may fancy the 26 year-old as experienced competition for Festy Ebosele.
Other potential recruits…
Jake Clarke-Salter (QPR)
Former Chelsea and England youth captain (and another to work under Lee Carsley) centre-back Clarke Salter is a ball playing defender who matches his technical game with physicality. Hinted at switching to Ireland in 2022 but has struggled with injuries with lowly QPR in the Championship. Like Kitching, is a left-footer and could offer the next Ireland manager some variety in defence despite the volume of talent in the position already.
Dan Crowley (Notts County)
Something of a wonderkid as a youngster with Arsenal, Dan Crowley has found some career stability with Notts County. The 26 year-old is certainly not on the Ireland radar right now, but having arguably been the best player in League 2 this season, he could make a case for full international honours if he can secure a move further up the football league next season. Another former player of Lee Carsley in the England youth ranks.
CJ Egan-Riley (Burnley)
21 year-old CJ Egan Riley had captained Manachester city at youth level before following ex-teammate Vinvent Kompany to Burnley. Having represented Ireland at under-16 level the Manchester born switched allegiances to England. Capable of playing in defence and inn midfield, the youngster is still very much in the development phase of his career having enjoyed a spell on loan with Hibernian last season and guess what, he worked with Lee Carsley at City and at under-20 level with England!
The unlikely lads
Nathan Redmond (Burnley)
Incredibly still Irish eligible through his Irish mother, Nathan Redmond’s solitary England cap came in a friendly in 2017. His name has emerged as a potential Irish recruit for the last decade but with the winger due to turn 30 next month, it seems that ship sailed a long time ago. Interestingly, he is the only player on the list to have played with Lee Carsley…
Jobe Bellingham (Sunderland)
Younger brother of the phenomenal Jude, Jobe Bellingham is thriving at Sunderland after his summer move from Birmingham City. Still only 18, the youngster is tipped for the very top and is well established in the England underage system. It seems unlikely Bellingham will switch allegiances and is likely to follow his big brother in representing England at senior level.
Nick, Lansdowne Roar