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18 for 18: After interest from United and Chelsea, this Irish teenager's move to Aston Villa is paying off

Originally from Marino in Dublin, Jake Doyle-Hayes moved to Cavan as a 10-year-old.

Jake Doyle-Hayes (file pic).
Jake Doyle-Hayes (file pic).
Image: David Davies

Over the next 10 days, our 18 for 18 series will look at 18 Irish athletes aged 18 or younger set for a big 2018. You can read the rest of the series here

18-YEAR-OLD midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes has been capped at U17, U18 and U19 level by Ireland, while he was recently called up to the U21 squad prior to the European Championship qualifiers against Norway and Israel, but was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Originally from Marino in Dublin, he moved to Cavan as a 10-year-old.

At club level, the youngster is also making good progress. As a young teenager, the Ballyjamesduff-based player attracted interest from Man United and Chelsea while playing at the SFAI Umbro Kennedy Cup.

However, he ultimately chose to sign for Aston Villa, with Roy Keane the assistant manager of the club at the time.

Since then, he has made steady progress, lining out for his senior debut in the 4-1 League Cup win against Wigan this season and following that up with another appearance in the same competition amid a 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough.

Doyle-Hayes appears to have a bright future at Villa Park, signing a new three-year contract with the club last September. Capable of playing anywhere across the midfield and as a number 10, he will be hoping to add to his first-team appearances in 2018 and has plenty of good characters in the dressing room to turn to for advice, with Irish internationals Glenn Whelan and Conor Hourihane both regulars for Steve Bruce’s side.

Like his idol Steven Gerrard, Doyle-Hayes is someone who seems to possess leadership qualities and has captained Villa sides at underage level.

In three years at the club, he has attracted countless admirers and won no shortage of acclaim in the process.

On the youngster, the Birmingham Mail recently wrote: “Villa’s senior coaches and academy coaches have been impressed by his attitude and willingness to graft.

“It is this work ethic that has thrust him forward for a first-team chance.

“He knows there is still work to be done on his game, particularly the defensive side, but he is ready, willing and able to learn and brings a positive approach to the practice pitches each day.

“Doyle-Hayes has good vision and is always looking to pass the ball, be it the simple five-yarder, or picking out a team-mate with a diagonal crossfield ball.”

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

‘People don’t realise: without that fight, I wouldn’t have been able to pay next month’s rent’>

The All-Ireland winner who retired at 25 after eight concussions – ‘It’s not about me, it’s about the issue’>

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Paul Fennessy

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