From Monchengladbach to Austria – Conor Noss is starting to realise his potential

In November 2019, a German born footballer with the second name of Noss made his debut for Ireland at under-19 level against Denmark, catching the eye of many at the Showgrounds.

The FAI were alerted of Conor Noss’s eligibility for Ireland through his Dublin born mother in 2019 and was soon after handed his first cap by under-19 head coach Tom Mohan. 

Noss became the fourth Irish player to play in the German Bundesliga when on the 20th of November 2021 he debuted for the club he had been at since the age of eight, Borussia Monchengladbach. 

Sadly, the Irishman would only feature twice more for the German giants in the next three years and the disappointment with a lack of first team minutes led to Noss deciding he had to explore the idea of finding a new club.

“My family lives not far from Monchengladbach so it was my childhood there. But I knew it was the right step as I needed to get some playing time at a higher level than the second team. It felt the right step at the time and it still feels the same now”.  Noss told Lansdowne Roar in an exclusive interview.

“I was there my whole life for 14 years from the age of 8 so it’s a club I’ll always hold close to my heart. It was difficult to leave because there were a lot of people there that did a lot for me, and I have a lot of friends there.”

In the summer of 2023 Conor made the decision to leave boyhood club Borussia Monchengladbach after being at the club for 14 years leaving family and friends for Austrian Bundesliga side FC Blau-Weiss Linz. Noss signed a two-year deal in Austria.

Since the move to Austria, Noss has featured 17 times in the Austrian Bundesliga, scoring once and picking up two assists. The Irishman is settling in well in Austria and has found the adjustment to his new home relatively easy.

He said, “It’s similar to living in Germany, the language is pretty much the same. The dialect is a little bit different, so I have to get used to speaking in their version of German. Playing wise it’s a different league to the German Bundesliga, it’s a top five league in Europe but the Austrian league is number 10 so it’s a really high level. It’s been good so far; I’ve been playing a lot and developing.”

But Noss knows there’s even more to come from him. 

“It’s the first time being away from home and living on my own. It’s been good to play every week but there’s always room for improvement. I knew it wouldn’t all click from the beginning and it would be a process but so far it’s been good and I feel there’s a lot more I can show.

Conor was a part of a record breaking Ireland under-21 squad who reached the playoffs of qualification for the European Championships in 2022 for the first time, but were extremely unlucky to miss out on the tournament as they were beaten on penalties by Israel. 

Despite the heartbreak, Noss looks back at his time as an under-21 international with some fond memories after picking up 11 caps at that level.

“It was disappointing to miss out on the euros. We had a great team and I thought we deserved to be at the tournament, but we were just unlucky with the penalties.”

Noss spoke very highly of Ireland under-21 head coach Jim Crawford, who has created some great moments for our small country over the last few years.

“Jim is a good manager, I enjoyed playing under him. He was very open and honest. He would speak to the players and is always open to what the players think. There was great communication with him which led to a very successful time under him.”

Although the attacking midfielder was born in Germany, he is Irish to the core. As a wiseman once said “ We are not Irish because we were or were not born in Ireland but because Ireland was born in us”.

On his first call up for Ireland in 2019, Noss stated, “It was a really proud moment for my family and especially for my mother. It’s always a huge honour to play for your country.

Despite Noss’s love for Ireland, he is not a fan of the climate.

“These days are pretty difficult (to visit Ireland) as I only have time for a vacation in the summer or winter and that’s when I like to get a nice vacation at the beach. When I had the chance to play in Ireland, I would sometimes stay with my grandparents the last night there which was nice.”

The former Monchengladbach midfielder stated that midfield maestreo’s Gavin Kilkenny and Will Smallbone are the two best players he’s played with at international level.

“Gavin Kilkenny is great on the ball; his first touch was always on point. Will Smallbone is also a great player and is having a great season.”

Now that Noss is overage for the Ireland under-21’s, he now has to try earn himself a senior call up and it is something he dreams of doing.

“For now I’m trying to improve every single day and I’m trying to play as much as possible. I want to get more goals and assists and get a good run of form going.”

“Playing for Ireland is a huge honour but it is not something I think about every day. Playing for Ireland is a big goal of mine and I want to play for Ireland again. I work everyday towards this goal and I want it to happen in the future.”

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