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Ireland striker Afolabi confident of finding new club after inclusion in Euros Team of the Tournament

The free agent, released by Southampton this summer, has been recognised for his performances at this month’s Uefa U19 Championship in Armenia.

Ireland U19 star Jonathan Afolabi.
Ireland U19 star Jonathan Afolabi.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

JONATHAN AFOLABI HAS been honoured for his performances at this year’s U19 European Championships in Armenia with inclusion in the Team of the Tournament.

The 19-year-old is currently a free agent, having been released by Southampton earlier this summer, but the forward is now confident of finding a new club after being named among Europe’s finest underage talent.

“Hopefully this tournament will open up great opportunities for me,” the Dubliner told the FAI. “It’s an experience that I will never forget.

“It feels surreal and a huge honour to be included in the team.

“As much as it is an individual achievement it is also a team achievement because without the team, and staff members, this wouldn’t be possible.

We had a great campaign all season and done very well to get to the semi-finals but we deserved much more.”

Afolabi made three appearances for the Boys in Green during the group stages and scored an excellent solo goal against the Czech Republic.

Speaking to The42 in the run-up to the finals in July, the Irish-born striker said he intends to represent the Boys in Green at senior level and not switch allegiance to Nigeria.

“Nothing has come up, so my head is fixed on Ireland,” he said.

“I’d like to represent them in the future and hopefully get that chance. I’ve not heard anything from Nigeria.”

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Afolabi was a key member of Tom Mohan’s squad as they progressed through the Elite Qualifying round for the championships with a 100% record.

Ireland drew 1-1 with Norway in their opening group game before defeat to France left their hopes of progression hanging by a thread.

A 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic set up a semi-final showdown with reigning champions Portugal.

Despite Ireland’s valiant effort, the Portuguese booked their place in the final with a convincing 4-0 win in Yerevan. Afolabi missed the game through suspension after accumulating a second yellow card in the group stages. 

U19 European Championships Team of the Tournament

Goalkeeper: Arnau Tenas (Spain & Barcelona).

Defenders: Víctor Gómez (Spain & Espanyol), Eric García (Spain & Manchester City), Oumar Solet (France & Lyon), Juan Miranda (Spain & Barcelona).

Midfielders: Maxence Caqueret (France & Lyon), Antonio Blanco (Spain & Real Madrid), Fábio Vieira (Portugal & Porto).

Forwards: Ferrán Torres (Spain & Valencia), Jonathan Afolabi (Republic of Ireland & unattached), Félix Correia (Portugal & Sporting CP).

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