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Ex-Barcelona teenager Gilsenan commits to Ireland over Australia as he starts recovery from ACL injury

Gilsenan was born in Perth to parents from Dublin.

Updated Oct 21st 2021, 9:47 PM

PROMISING TEENAGE ATTACKER Zak Gilsenan has committed to representing Ireland over Australia, The42 has learned. 

Gilsenan was born in Perth, Australia to parents from Blanchardstown in Dublin, making him eligible to represent either nation.

There has been something of a tug-of-war over his services at international level, and Gilsenan first represented Australia at U17 level and played a friendly game for their U18s in 2019. It initially seemed he would represent stick with the Socceroos when he was quoted in Australian media as saying “they’re the country I have a really good feeling for.” 

The 18-year-old was called up for an Irish U19 training camp earlier this year, however, and was called up once again for this month’s training camp in Marbella and double-header of friendly games with Sweden.

It is understood Gilsenan informed Australia of his desire to represent Ireland prior to the Marbella trip.

Unfortunately, Gilsenan faces a lengthy period on the sidelines before he can represent Ireland again: he suffered an ACL injury in the first game against Sweden, having scored one goal and set up another earlier in the game. 

Gilsenan was initially dubbed the “Irish Messi” as he moved to Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, where he spent two years before Liverpool won a race for his signature. He moved to Blackburn Rovers in 2019, with whom he signed professional terms in May. 

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He had been playing with Rovers’ U23 side prior to his injury, having earlier caught the eye with a hat-trick for their youth team against Manchester United.

First published today at 17.41

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Gavin Cooney

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