This upcoming Premier League season could be a crucial one for a host of young Irish players as they look to make the breakthrough at the highest level.
There is a plethora of talent from an Irish perspective with plenty of players being included in first-team plans throughout the pre-season as they look to impress and take their chance ahead of the new campaign.
But who should we be looking out for?
Here are five Irish players with the potential to have breakout campaigns this Premier League season.
1) Michael Obafemi – Southampton
One of Ireland’s most promising prospects, Michael Obafemi looked like he was on course to have a breakout campaign midway through last season, but his year was hampered by injuries which ultimately got in the way of his progress.
After a spell on the sidelines, Obafemi will be hoping that he can benefit from a full pre-season and play his way back into Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans for the new campaign.
Under the Austrian, Obafemi was given his chance and took it with both hands grabbing his first goal for the club and becoming the Saints’ youngest ever Premier League goalscorer.
Obafemi will likely be in and around the first team once again and considering Southampton’s struggles in the goalscoring department and Hasenhuttl’s propensity to give youth a chance, the 19-year old could be in for a breakout season at St Mary’s this campaign.
2) Mark Travers – Bournemouth
As far as Premier League debuts are concerned, they don’t come much better than Mark Travers’ display between the sticks for Bournemouth against Tottenham.
The 20-year old kept a clean sheet thanks to a string of phenomenal saves and caught the attention of many with his brilliant performance on his first start for the club.
Travers retained his place in the next game and despite conceding five could well see himself as Bournemouth’s number one next season.
Howe is clearly a huge fan of the Kildare native who has already shown he can make the step up and it would be an incredible achievement if he could become a first-choice Premier League keeper at such a young age.
Bournemouth still have Asmir Begovic and Artur Boruc as stiff competition but sooner or later Travers will get another chance to impress in the upcoming season.
3) Aaron Connolly – Brighton
Ireland U21 international Aaron Connolly has yet to be given his first-team debut for Brighton, but this season could represent a huge chance for him to stake a claim in the Seagulls’ senior side.
Connolly was prolific at underage level for the club scoring 16 goals for Brighton’s U23s last season and winning the Premier League 2 Player of the Season despite a hamstring injury scuppering his campaign somewhat.
The Galway native was never given his opportunity by Chris Hughton and was sent on loan to Luton Town in League One but with Graham Potter now at the helm, this season could represent the chance to show what he can do on the biggest stage.
The 19-year old was also one of Ireland’s most impressive performers at the recent Toulon Tournament catching the eye against China and Brazil in particular.
4) Adam Idah – Norwich
Like Aaron Connolly, Adam Idah is a young Irish striker who appears very close to making the breakthrough at senior level for his club.
Idah has proven to be a goal machine at underage level for Norwich bagging 12 goals for the U23s last season despite still being just 18 years of age, and was another who impressed when given his chance with the Irish U21s in Toulon.
The Cork native has been rewarded with a new contract at Carrow Road and Daniel Farke has already outlined that he will be a part of the Norwich first team this season as they look to make their mark in the Premier League.
Farke has put his faith in youth in the past and in the likes of Ben Godfrey and Max Aaron it has certainly paid off with many feeling that Idah will be the next academy product to become a huge part of the Canaries’ first team.
5) Callum Robinson – Sheffield United
Unlike the rest of our inclusions in this list Callum Robinson has plenty of first team experience, but this season will be his first in the Premier League.
Robinson has been excellent for Preston over the past number of seasons but last year proved to be his real coming-out party as he scored 12 goals and was on course to have a truly memorable campaign before injury derailed his progress.
This year, after signing for a club-record fee, Robinson will be a part of Sheffield United’s venture back to the top-flight and given his pace and eye for goal, the 24-year old could prove to be one of their key men.
The Irish international’s attributes and direct style of play suits the Premier League and having been given his chance at the highest level he will be no doubt chomping at the bit to impress his new club.