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Thread: Youth Player discussion

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    Youth Player discussion

    Apparently Parrott played for the Ipswich U23s today. Not in the squad for 1st team. Gotta say Im now wondering about him

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be too worried. It's not ideal, sure, but he's only after going 19 and the step up to senior level is a big one. He's hardly finished.

    But I do think it's a pointer towards expectations on here for young players. The top clubs have lots of academy prospects, and most won't make it at Premier League level. He wouldn't be near the national side if we weren't so crap (and I think Kenny has said as much in his comments on League One players).

    If half of the promising players we have now - Parrott, Connolly, Idah, Bazunu, Molumby, Coventry, Travers, even Kelleher - make it at the lower end of the Premier League, we'll have done very well indeed. You don't rebuild an entire senior squad from one half-decent U21 one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    I wouldn't be too worried. It's not ideal, sure, but he's only after going 19 and the step up to senior level is a big one. He's hardly finished.

    But I do think it's a pointer towards expectations on here for young players. The top clubs have lots of academy prospects, and most won't make it at Premier League level. He wouldn't be near the national side if we weren't so crap (and I think Kenny has said as much in his comments on League One players).

    If half of the promising players we have now - Parrott, Connolly, Idah, Bazunu, Molumby, Coventry, Travers, even Kelleher - make it at the lower end of the Premier League, we'll have done very well indeed. You don't rebuild an entire senior squad from one half-decent U21 one.
    I wasn't sure where to put this, but your point here seems like a reasonable lead-in Stu. With this qualifying campaign looking like a write-off, and with the attendant doom and gloom coming out after the Luxembourg debacle, I recently started thinking about the Euro '24 qualifying campaign and whether our squad will be better by then. If we assume that players will retire if they turn 34 before the tournament finals, then we will lose Randolph, Coleman, Clark, McClean, Long and Arter will no longer be playing then, so much of the current squad will be intact (although there may be a spate of retirements after)

    So I started thinking about who is coming through replenish the National Team and made a list of players who I would consider realistic young candidates to be playing at a high enough level in a year and a half to be considered for the national team. I based it on a number of loose and probably imperfect criteria: Under 25; Playing for, or being included in, first-team squads at League One or above in England, SPL in Scotland or a top European league (plus young players in lower divisions on loan from bigger clubs); Playing U23 but having made a quick jump recently from U18s or having skipped that level altogether. And this is the list I came up with:

    Goalkeepers
    Caoimhín Kelleher; Gavin Bazunu; Mark Travers; Max O'Leary; Kieran O'Hara

    Defenders
    Mark McGuinness; Jimmy Dunne; Thomas O'Connor; Dara O'Shea; Ryan Burke;
    Lewis Richards; Peter Kioso; Danny McNamara; Andrew Omobamidele;
    Conor Masterson; Trevor Clarke; Ciaran Brennan; Nathan Collins;
    Ryan Manning; Sean McLoughlin; Corrie Ndaba; Sean Roughan; Warren O'Hora;
    Mark Sykes; Conor Shaughnessy; Corey Whelan; Lee O'Connor; Conor McCarthy
    Ryan Nolan

    Midfielders
    Tyreik Wright; Jayson Molumby; Joe Hodge; Will Smallbone; Will Ferry;
    Conor Coventry; Connor Ronan; Gavin Kilkenny; Dan Crowley; Alex Gilbert;
    Jordan Shipley; Jason Knight; Louie Watson; Danny Grant; Adam O'Reilly
    Olamide Shodipo; Chiedozie Ogbene; Shane McLoughlin; Josh Barrett; Zachary Elbouzedi;
    Jack Taylor; Conor Grant; Luca Connell; Jake Doyle-Hayes; Jamie McGrath
    Festy Ebosele; John Joe Patrick Finn;

    Forwards
    Aaron Connolly; Evan Ferguson; Thomas Cannon; Michael Obafemi; Mipo Odubeko;
    Troy Parrott; Adam Idah; Joshua Kayode; Ethon Varian; Ryan Cassidy; Aaron Drinan;
    Anthony Scully; Armstrong Okoflex; Jonathan Afolabi; Jaze Kabia

    Now, I know a lot of these lads will not become Premier League stars in the next 18 months, but hopefully a significant number of them will establish themselves in the top two tiers in England, or equivalent, allowing us to have a significantly stronger squad by then. And who knows, a few young LOI players might go across the Irish Sea and impress by then, and some U23 players I haven't mentioned might break in to their first teams.

    But looking at that list of over 70 players, I think there is still reason to be optimistic about the future of the National Team, even if the present kind of sucks
    Last edited by samhaydenjr; 14/04/2021 at 1:26 AM.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanhaydenjr
    But looking at that list of over 70 players, I think there is still reason to be optimistic about the future of the National Team, even if the present kind of sucks
    I think that's more of the same overestimating of young players though. Until they start establishing themselves as first-team players at a suitable level (top two tiers in England) then they're just prospects.

    Let's go back to the summer of 1998 and make the same point -

    Goalkeepers
    Derek O'Connor; Paul Whelan; Alex O'Reilly; Dean Delaney; Joe Murphy;
    David Madden

    Defenders
    David Worrell; Robbie Ryan; Colin Hawkins; Aidan Lynch; David Whittle;
    Thomas Heary; Keith Doyle; Richard Dunne; Jason Gavin; Barry Quinn;
    Ryan Casey; John Thompson; Keith Foy; Jim Goodwin; John O'Shea;
    Dessie Byrne; Brian O'Callaghan; Ian Rossiter

    Midfielders
    Stephen Murphy; Niall Inman; John Burns; Micky Cummins; Thomas Morgan;
    Damien Duff; Alan Kirby; Stephen McPhail; Ronnie O'Brien; Alan Quinn;
    Paul Donnelly; Richie Partridge; Andy Reid; Shaun Byrne; Brendan McGill;
    Liam Miller; Jonathan Douglas; David Warren; Kevin Grogan

    Forwards
    Neale Fenn; Glen Crowe; Dessie Baker; Trevor Molloy; Gary Doherty;
    Ger Crossley; Robbie Keane; Liam George; David Freeman; David McMahon;
    Graham Barrett

    Many of those names are forgotten now. Really only four - O'Shea, Dunne, Duff and Keane - were mainstays at international level. Three were squad players - Doherty, Miller, Reid. A few made a handful of caps. Most never made it at all.

    Yet that's the three squads from the U20 World Cup in 1997 (semi-final), U-18 European championships in 1998 (winners) and U-16 European championships in 1998 (winners)

    And of that, Duff and Keane were already being talked up and were way ahead of anyone we have now. Keane had scored 11 goals in his first senior season with Wolves, and Duff was one of the youngest, if not the youngest, players at the U20 World Cup; he was still eligible for the 1999 competition, at which some commentators reckoned Ireland had the best chance out of all the European teams. (In the event, only Spain went further than us)

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    Quote Originally Posted by samhaydenjr View Post
    I

    Now, I know a lot of these lads will not become Premier League stars in the next 18 months, but hopefully a significant number of them will establish themselves in the top two tiers in England, or equivalent, allowing us to have a significantly stronger squad by then. And who knows, a few young LOI players might go across the Irish Sea and impress by then, and some U23 players I haven't mentioned might break in to their first teams.

    But looking at that list of over 70 players, I think there is still reason to be optimistic about the future of the National Team, even if the present kind of sucks
    To be honest , that is a bleak list. Players are just as likely to fall down the leagues as they go from underage to senior, as they are to progress up them. For example Dan Crowley is playing at the same standard at 23 as he did when he was sent on loan at 17.

    There is only one player from it that looks like a sure thing and its Gavin Bazunu, and even he is still only playing League 1 at 18 (although he is with a super club). The next brightest are Knight, Molumby and O'Shea but how much more growth can you expect? Max lower table premiership but more likely Championship. There is a low ceiling in that group.

    The rest is either too unknown because they are too young, or more likely to end up at LOI as Premiership.

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    I don't think any of us have a clue. More likely to end up at LOI as Premiership? Who knows? O'Shea and Knight have a lotta of potential. Where will they end up? Who knows?

    I think there are 70 names up there and, to coin the phrase, if you throw enough sh1t at the wall some of it will stick.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiki Balboa View Post
    There is only one player from it that looks like a sure thing and its Gavin Bazunu
    This is a discussion that's been done elsewhere, so I don't mean to get too involved in it here, but I don't agree with that at all - either that he looks a sure thing, or that he's the only player you can say that about. Neither is far from certain at the moment, especially when Kelleher is clearly a step ahead (for what that's worth).

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    Similar thoughts here, Olé Olé. We got, what, 16 internationals of varying quality from one-cap wonders to, well, wonders like Keane and Duff from the '98 list. The current list is one-third bigger and already 11 players have been capped. A lot of the 1998 16 weren't capped for at least another two years. So, maybe a few earlier developers or willingness to try younger player sooner. I think there's grounds for cautious optimism that we might get a somewhat larger cohort equivalent to a Doherty, McPhail, Miller, Alan Quinn and wild optimism that there's a Duff out there somewhere.
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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    I think you have to keep in mind that a lot of the younger players now have been capped because there's no alternatives.

    We had a squad in 1998-2000 which contained a number of players who'd been to two World Cups. That's a lot harder to break into.

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    Sure, not gainsaying that, but the reason we've had a aged squad for so long is becase we don't cap enough young players. So instead of capping u21 players with potential early on and giving them the experience and profile to stay at a good level if they don't make it in the Premiership, we allowed them to drop to L2 or worse where if they didn't wither on the vine they eventually clawed their way back to Championship level by their late twenties, but with too much lost time and too much of a gap on players who'd always played at that level.

    Right now we've a lot of old players we can't afford to let go of, a lot of young players we're pinning our hopes on, and not much in the middle. The last squad had seven players aged 19-22 (4 year block); eight aged 23-28 (six year block) and eight aged 29-34 (six year block). Tellingly, there were four players with L1 clubs: the only players on permanent L1 contracts were two in the middle cohort (O'Hara, Curtis), and the two youngest squad players (Bazunu, Parrott), both 19, were on loan. There was only one current Premiership player in the middle cohort (Robinson), and two who had played at that level (Cullen, three times) and Christie (23 games, and unlikely to rise to the level again). Seven of the older cohort have a lot of Premiership experience, but they should have been put under serious pressure for their squad places for the last three years, McClean, Brady, Hendrick, Long in particular. Was Cullen ready to be a starter aged 21/22? Probably not - but with 15-20 caps now instead of the handful he has he might be a more developed option.

    It's only a snapshot, so not probative of anything other than ... we're in the doldrums.
    Last edited by Eminence Grise; 14/04/2021 at 3:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eminence Grise View Post
    Sure, not gainsaying that, but the reason we've had a aged squad for so long is becase we don't cap enough young players.
    I don't know. I'd argue it's because the young players haven't been good enough.

    I don't think a handful of early international caps would really make a huge difference to a player's club career. Stephen Kenny has no control over a player dropping to League Two for example. And is Troy Parrott (1 goal in 30 senior games) any more of a prospect because he has 4 international caps?

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    Well for starters I don't think it's a like for like comparison to use an Under 18 squad and an Under 16 squad from the 90s to compare progression rates to the initial group listed, most of which are older and have progressed further at club level. However, looking at the first group listed you can pretty much already write off 15 to 20 of them as not going to ever become established internationals based on their progression to date. However, many of the ones that have established themselves in our under 21 squad in the last few years have a very decent chance, some sooner, some maybe later in their careers and of course as always quite a few more will fall away. But really what you're trying to get is a group of 20 to 25 or so out of those names who will go on to have solid careers in the top two divisions in England - and that doesn't look unrealistic to me given some of the names listed.

    I also am unsure why Gavin Bazunu is being picked out by people as the only likely hope to reach the top level out of the names listed. I have hope for him certainly, but if you asked me right now to pick my top three prospects from the list, he wouldn't be there - it would be Collins, O'Shea and Knight for me at the moment. Bazunu has a lot of potential but as a 19 year old keeper he has a long way to go. That's probably the equivalent of a 17 year old outfield player. Great to see how far he has progressed but I'd wait a couple more years before making a call on his career prospects. The three I listed are a lot further on than he is at club level.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirambler View Post
    Well for starters I don't think it's a like for like comparison to use an Under 18 squad and an Under 16 squad from the 90s to compare progression rates to the initial group listed
    It's not an exact comparison, sure, but there's some indicative merit in there. It was easier to grab hold of those names than to pick a few 21s squads, which would probably give you something similar if we're honest.

    Going back to the 90s allows you look back on their full careers as these guys have almost all retired now (Joe Murphy is still playing), but it's still recent enough that their careers were comparable to modern football.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    I don't know. I'd argue it's because the young players haven't been good enough.
    But so many young players over a decade? Surely there's an aberration there. Surely some should have made the break through if they got the opportunity?


    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    I don't think a handful of early international caps would really make a huge difference to a player's club career. Stephen Kenny has no control over a player dropping to League Two for example. And is Troy Parrott (1 goal in 30 senior games) any more of a prospect because he has 4 international caps?
    We're in hypothetical territory so there's no right or wrong answer. But of course a national manager has no control over a player's club career: it would be ridiculous to suggest it. But they can help by not ignoring them. I think that some young players can have an accelerated development if they get exposure to high level football early in their careers. And a 21 year old with seven or eight caps is in a different shop window to a 21 year old with nothing more than U23 football behind him.

    Of course you're going to find more Barry Quinn and Jonathan Douglas experiments than Gary Doherty or Andy Reid qualified successes when capping young players, but you'll find nobody at all if you dont go looking for them. And we've had a succession of managers who have been abso-bloody-lutely derelict in their duties in not looking for them.

    And I can't believe I'm trying to win a discussion using Gary Doherty as an example of the kind of player we'd be delighted to see in the current squad. The defence throws itself on the mercy of the court, m'lud.
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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eminence Grise View Post
    But so many young players over a decade? Surely there's an aberration there. Surely some should have made the break through if they got the opportunity?
    I'm not sure it's an aberration.

    We know that Irish players have been going over to England in ever-decreasing numbers since the mid 90s. Brian Kerr's trilogy coincided almost exactly with the opening of the Premier League to all comers, and Irish players starting to get squeezed out. I think the decline has been linear since then, partly because we've done feck all to address it - in fact, we've actively failed to keep up with best junior coaching standards here, which would also explain why the players just aren't there.

    Our U21s results have been appalling the past 15 years. (Apart from the most recent campaign, where we still didn't actually qualify) It's not just that we've never qualified for the Euro U21s ever, it's that for 2006/07/09/11, say, we won four qualifying games of 28, including no away games. That's - roughly - the era of players you'd be looking at blooding at senior level after Euro 2012. Again, it's harder to summarise qualifying squads because there's more of them than finals squads, but for example, here's the final qualifying game of 2011 qualifying. Coleman, Brady and Hourihane are the only full internationals out of those 14 I think. The players are -

    Stephen Henderson - now with Palace, but has played four games in the last six seasons
    Séamus Coleman - 59 caps
    Brendan Moloney - retired in 2018 with injury. Was with Northampton
    Rob Kiernan - US second tier
    Séamus Conneely - Accrington Stanley
    Richie Towell - Salford
    Conor Hourihane - 24 caps
    Conor Clifford - Bray
    Adam Rooney - Solihull Moore. Could well have been capped while flying at Aberdeen.
    Robbie Brady - 57 caps
    Graham Carey - CSKA Sofia
    Shane McEleney - Finn Harps
    Danny Kearns - Cliftonville
    Joe Mason - MK Dons

    Maybe Rooney deserved a cap, but all the rest have either (a) come through to the senior squad or (b) barely played above the third tier.

    You could run that experiment for a variety of squads but I don't think you'd find too many who got away.

    Andy Reid and Gary Doherty both had 80 senior club appearances when he made his international debut. Douglas and Quinn had 50 senior games. We barely have that in the squad at the moment.

    So I do think it is the case that we've had very few decent young players coming through, and the questions then have to be asked why that is. Fewer players going to England is one. No professional environment domestically for the past decade or so is another. Poor coaching here is a third. Miguel Delaney in one of his articles says that Irish players don't have the technical ability to step up to the mark in England. I think we're seeing all that come home to roost. And it's a huge job to fix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    I don't know. I'd argue it's because the young players haven't been good enough.
    it's a little of A and a little of B.

    John Egan was ready years before he was used. Going back to the days of Trap, Coleman and McClean and McCarthy were underused in their early years. Certainly had O'Neill been more aggressive with Declan Rice, he'd be an Irish player now, perhaps Grealish too. Matt Doherty was 21 when O'Neill took over. He was probably ready in the October or November windows in 2014 (age 22) and yet he made his debut in 2018 (age 26). He tended to persist with older players (thinking Stephen Ward, Daryl Murphy etc.) when there were opportunities to integrate younger options. It meant that guys who should have been competing for places in the first team were only arriving in the squad uncapped and in their prime. Arguably a dysfunctional 21s didn't really help, promising players like Jack Byrne were abandoned in favour of non-leaguers like Connor Dimaio

    It seems Kenny has been more aggressive with guys like Molumby than managers in the past were. Picking Idah and Parrott over the likes of Hogan and Maguire is probably something previous managers wouldn't have

    <EDIT FYI wrote that before reading your last post>
    Last edited by elatedscum; 14/04/2021 at 4:55 PM.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Here's another sample set actually; the team that drew 2-2 with Italy in August 2012.

    Ian McLoughlin - quit the game in 2014, a brief reappearance with Waterford aside
    John Egan - 12 caps. Capped as soon as he became a Championship regular
    Greg Cunningham - 4 caps. No idea why so few tbh. But has barely played in the last three years.
    Shane Duffy - 42 caps. Form has gone off a cliff lately.
    Niall Canavan - Bradford
    Richie Towell - Salford
    Aidan White - Hearts (Scottish second tier)
    Eunan O'Kane - 7 caps. Injured the past two years and may have to retire
    Rhys Murphy - Yeovil
    Jeff Hendrick - 62 caps
    Robbie Brady - 57 caps
    Aaron McCarey - Cliftonville
    James Collins - 8 caps

    So same question - who have we overlooked out of that lot? Even with Brady, Hendrick and Duffy, the rush now seems to be to get them out of the squad.

    Another factor of course is that we've fewer 2G players as we've gone a generation without emigration. That impacts our playing pool too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elatedscum View Post
    John Egan was ready years before he was used.
    Before John Egan was capped, he had two years in League One. That's not "ready". Kenny has said that League One isn't a high enough standard, and I've seen nothing to dissuade me of that view.

    I don't think it's a black and white issue - it is, as you say, a little of column A and a little of column B. Most things are. But I think it's maybe 80% "We don't have the players" and 20% "What was Matt Doherty uncapped for so long for?"

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    One of my favorite things for years was following our underage players. I have to say this season is probably the most deflating ever in terms of the expectation of so many players. I think Im at the point now where I dont really care how they do in underage football, I want to see them in 1st team before I take an interest.
    Last edited by Razors left peg; 14/04/2021 at 7:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Before John Egan was capped, he had two years in League One. That's not "ready". Kenny has said that League One isn't a high enough standard, and I've seen nothing to dissuade me of that view.

    I don't think it's a black and white issue - it is, as you say, a little of column A and a little of column B. Most things are. But I think it's maybe 80% "We don't have the players" and 20% "What was Matt Doherty uncapped for so long for?"
    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Here's another sample set actually; the team that drew 2-2 with Italy in August 2012.
    John Egan - 12 caps. Capped as soon as he became a Championship regular
    That's pretty selective. His 22-23 season, he was in the league 1 team of the year and was bought by Brentford that summer. His 23/24 season onwards he was a championship regular. After his first season at Brentford, he was made captain there. After his second season, he was bought by Sheffield United for a club record fee. They were promoted that season and he's been a premier league player since.

    He played in two friendlies in 2017 against iceland and mexico (March and June), basically the end of his first season as a championship player. Across the second season where he was captain of brentford, we had 7 competitive games and he wasn't in the squad for any of them. he played his next game in a friendly in september 2018 against poland and then his 4th and final cup under o'neill came in a friendly against norn iron in november 2018.

    with Mccarthy, he made his debut in the friendly against bulgaria and was finally given his competitive debut in the 6th competitive game of his campaign after Keogh was in the car crash. That was a week before his 27th birthday and he was an established and impressive premier league player.

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    Last Post: 07/09/2012, 9:29 PM

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