7 Irish players that could do with a move this January

Troy Parrott and others who are currently without regular first-team football.

Tottenham Hotspur's Troy Parrott.
Tottenham Hotspur's Troy Parrott.
Image: Daniel Hambury

Updated Jan 8th 2020, 8:02 PM

1. Troy Parrott

The 17-year-old has made good progress over the past 12 months. He has impressed for Stephen Kenny’s U21s, been handed a senior international cap by Mick McCarthy and made his Premier League debut. Yet you get the sense that to continue his development, the Dubliner might have to move away from Spurs at least on loan. Even with Harry Kane out injured, Jose Mourinho last week suggested the teenager is unlikely to get much game time, and a player of his talent surely deserves more than U23s football at this stage in his career. There are just 18 months left on his current contract, though recent reports have suggested Parrott — who has been linked with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund among others — is likely to commit his long-term future to Spurs by signing a new deal.

2.  Lee O’Connor

The full-back has been one of the stars of Stephen Kenny’s U21 side, and was recently rewarded with a senior Ireland cap against New Zealand in last November’s friendly win. His assured performance at the Aviva that night suggested he is more than ready for the step up to senior football. The Waterford native only joined Celtic from Man United last September, but could do with a loan move to further his development, with fellow 19-year-old Jeremie Frimpong currently Neil Lennon’s preferred choice at right-back.

3. Darragh Lenihan

The 25-year-old has been consistently one of Blackburn’s best players over the past few seasons, appearing 22 times so far in this campaign. One of the centre-back’s targets for 2020 will be to push himself higher up in the pecking order of Ireland’s defenders, and a move away from the club currently 13th in the Championship might help his cause. The Dunboyne native has been linked with a move to Sheffield United in recent days, and were he to make the switch to the Bramall Lane outfit, he would link up with fellow Ireland internationals John Egan, Enda Stevens, Callum Robinson and David McGoldrick.

4. Kevin Long

The 29-year-old has spent another season largely watching on from the sidelines. James Tarkowski and Ben Mee remain Sean Dyche’s preferred choices at centre-back. As a consequence, the Corkonian has made just one 88th-minute Premier League appearance this season, with his only other two games at club level coming in the EFL Cup and FA Cup. If Long continues to be overlooked by the Clarets, and with the promising likes of Conor Masterson and Dara O’Shea coming through at underage level, you suspect he might struggle to make future squads unless he finds regular first-team football elsewhere. 

5. Jimmy Dunne

burnley-v-espanyol-pre-season-friendly-turf-moor Jimmy Dunne (file pic). Source: Anthony Devlin

The 22-year-old centre-back saw his loan spell at Fleetwood Town cut short recently. Manager Joey Barton was vague in his reasoning, merely saying that the youngster had “crossed a line”. The Dundalk native didn’t do too badly at the League One club, featuring 11 times since his loan move there at the beginning of the season, having regularly lined out for Sunderland last year. With parent club Burnley unlikely to use him this season, Dunne — who has been included in provisional Ireland squads — may again need to look elsewhere for first-team football. Bolton, who are currently bottom of League One, have recently been linked with a move for Dunne

6. Glenn Whelan

The veteran midfielder was recently let go by Hearts, having fallen out of favour under new boss Daniel Stendel. Whelan, who is set to turn 36 later this month, certainly needs regular game time to maintain his match sharpness. He has been a regular under Mick McCarthy during Ireland’s Euro 2020 campaign, and will hope to be involved for the crucial play-off away to Slovakia on 26 March, although that scenario appears unlikely unless he can secure regular first-team football at a decent level in the coming months.

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7. Caoimhín Kelleher

The 21-year-old will have gained invaluable experience being in and around Liverpool’s first team over the past few months. The Ringmahon Rangers youth product has been rewarded for his progress at underage level, with three EFL Cup appearances this season. 

Adrián looks set to be the preferred choice for the Reds in the FA Cup, given that he featured in the 1-0 win over Everton at the weekend, and so it seems unlikely that the Irish youngster will be making any more first-team appearances for the Anfield club this season barring an injury crisis. Therefore, a loan move might be the best option for the youngster, who is another player that has impressed with Stephen Kenny’s U21 side.

First published today at 16.08

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Paul Fennessy

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