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29 young Irish players on the books at Premier League clubs for you to look out for

Martin O’Neill will be keeping tabs on this lot over the next couple of years too.

Conor Masterson with Timothy Fonsu-Mensa Conor Masterson up against Timothy Fosu-Mensah of the Netherlands and Manchester United in 2015. Source: Georgi Dimitrov/INPHO

WITH THE NEW Premier League season starting back this afternoon, we take a look at the next generation of Irish footballers attempting to make the grade in the richest league in the world… 

Nathan Tormey (Arsenal) – Promising winger Tormey is a first-year scholar with the Gunners and won the ABN AMRO Future Cup with their U17s back in March. He’s also lined out for Paul Osam’s Ireland U16s side in recent months.

Josh O’Hanlon (Bournemouth) – 20-year-old Dubliner gained first team experience in the League of Ireland with former club Longford Town after making the switch last January, but returned to the Cherries last month.

Mark  Travers (Bournemouth) – 17-year-old former Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Travers, who is an Ireland U18 international, impressed the Premier League club on a trial before signing a one-year deal last month.

Mark Travers Mark Travers signing for Bournemouth. Source: afcb.co.uk

Jimmy Dunne (Burnley) – In July, the 18-year-old centre-half swapped Manchester United for the newly-promoted Clarets. The Dundalk native made 23 appearances for United’s U18s last season.

Khius Metz (Burnley) – Capped at U19 level for Ireland, the pacy striker was offered a new deal at Turf Moor in March. Blessed with incredible speed, he broke Darren Campbell’s 20-year-old British school record in the 200-metre sprint.

Kian Flanagan (Crystal Palace) – Bought for £37,500 from Southend as an U14, the 16-year-old midfielder was being monitored by Chelsea and Arsenal last summer. A regular in the Ireland U17s side.

Harry Charsley (Everton) – The Toffees winger has been gaining experience for Ireland’s U21s and, after producing for Everton U21s boss David Unsworth, he was rewarded with a new one-year deal last month.

Sam Byrne (Everton) – Former St Joseph’s Boys schoolboy left Ireland to join Manchester United in 2011, but moved to Everton after being released three years later. The Ireland U21 forward was coming into his best form when he suffered a broken leg in March and he’s been sidelined since then.

Soccer - Barclays Under 21 Premier League - Division 1 - Everton v Liverpool - Goodison Park Everton's Sam Byrne. Source: EMPICS Sport

Steven Kinsella (Everton) - The son of former League of Ireland player Alan Kinsella, he was signed as a 15-year-old from Templeogue United two years ago. Now 17, he’s currently on-loan at St Patrick’s Athletic with the aim to gain experience playing senior football.

Brian Lenihan (Hull City) – The full-back caught the eye while playing for hometown club Cork City and joined Hull for around £200,000 in 2014. Made his full competitive debut in April and could get a run in the team as the Tigers are short on players, but he’s out with a knee injury for the visit of Leicester City.

Conor Masterson (Liverpool) – A ball-playing centre-half from Dublin, Masterson did enough for Jurgen Klopp to name him on the bench for an FA Cup third round tie back in January. Most recently lined out for Ireland’s U18s in an international tournament in Sweden.

Corey Whelan (Liverpool) – Chester-born defender Whelan has been with the Reds since U10s and now plays for their reserves since signing his first professional contract last March.

Morecambe v Liverpool XI  - Pre-Season Friendly - Globe Arena Corey Whelan playing a pre-season friendly for Liverpool this summer. Source: EMPICS Sport

Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool) – Snapped up by the Merseysiders from Ringmahon Rangers in April 2015, the commanding goalkeeper has been named on the bench for the first team a couple of times during pre-season. An Ireland U17 regular over the past year.

Ian Lawlor (Manchester City) – Another goalkeeper, the 21-year-old has recently agreed to go on loan to League One side Bury, having had a brief spell at Barnet last season.

Lee O’Connor (Manchester United) – A full-back and Ireland U16 captain, O’Connor was the first Waterford native to join United since John O’Shea when he sealed his dream move in April.

Aaron O’Driscoll (Southampton) – The 17-year-old spent two years at Manchester City after leaving Cherry Orchard, but suffered a bad injury and is attempting to rebuild his career with the Saints since arriving in July.

Thomas O’Connor (Southampton) – A former schools GAA star with Good Counsel College, New Ross, Kilkenny native O’Connor was offered the chance to join Southampton last year and progressed from the U18s to the U21s before putting pen to paper on a new deal three months ago.

Thomas O'Connor Thomas O'Connor. Source: saints.co.uk

Shola Ayoola (Stoke City) – The forward is another player who came from DDSL side Cherry Orchard, joining the Potters and lining out for their U18s. He’s to eligible play for Nigeria but has chosen Ireland and earned caps for the U16s.

James Talbot (Sunderland) -Having won FAI Schoolboy Player of the Year in 2013, goalkeeper Talbot departed Home Farm for the Black Cats and is now lining out for their U23s and U21s.

Jean Yves Poame (Sunderland) – The Ivory Coast-born midfielder, who has represented Ireland underage, made a name for himself at Dublin club Corduff, before Sunderland came calling in 2014. Signed a new two-year deal earlier this year.

Ross Treacy (Swansea) – Ex-Parvilla goalkeeper and underage Meath Gaelic footballer Treacy joined the Swans in the summer of 2015 and has played for their U19s.

Tom Holland (Swansea) – An 18-year-old defender who has had spells with Bradford City, Leeds United and Man City before ending up at Swansea. The Ireland U19 international went on loan to non-league Eastleigh at the back end of last season.

Tom Holland Tom Holland. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Thomas McDermott (Tottenham) – The goalkeeper was a regular in Spurs’ U18s during the 2015/2016 campaign.

Sean Murray (Watford) – Midfielder Murray has been with the Hornets since the age of nine and is back lining out for Harry Kewell’s U21 after a loan stint with Wigan Athletic ended prematurely last season. Burst into the first team as an 18-year-old but hasn’t been able to feature in competitive games since their promotion to the Premier League

Tommie Hoban (Watford) – Similarly, fellow 22-year-old clubmate Hoban has seen his progression stunted by the millions earned by reaching the promised land. He could do with a move away from Vicarage Road.

Shaun Donnellan (West Brom) – A promising 19-year-old defender, Donnellan spent much of last term on loan at Worchester City and, after signing a one-year extension to his contract with the Baggies, he’s off to League Two outfit Stevenage until the turn of the year.

Robbie McCourt (West Brom) – Former St Kevin’s schoolboy, the left-back is a Baggies U21 and Ireland U18 player, who earned a new deal in June.

Zachary Elbouzedi (West Brom) – Also recently tied down by West Brom is attacking midfielder Zach. Once of Shelbourne, the Ireland U18 international was born in Dublin but his father is originally from Libya.

Zachary Elbouzedi Zachary Elbouzedi in action for Ireland's U17s. Source: Georgi Dimitrov/INPHO

Josh Cullen (West Ham) – 20-year-old midfielder Cullen made a couple of first team appearances for the Hammers this time last year, then went out on loan to Bradford City and played regularly for them. He has just extended that stay with a five-month deal.

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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