Mick McCarthy’s comments on Goals on Sunday last week suggested that the Ireland boss is in the process of recruiting a number of granny rule players.
McCarthy has an appreciation of the association many UK born footballers have to Ireland and the possibility that they may choose to wear green. The rule has gained much criticism in recent years, especially after the Jack Grealish saga.
Declan Rice seemed to be heading in the same direction as the Villa man but it seems McCarthy has secured him while also hinting at approaching the lines of Patrick Bamford and Nathan Redmond.
Ireland are bare at the moment and could do with as big a player pool as possible, especially given the fact McCarthy will need a strong squad to call on in such a restricted period.
Essentially, if a player declares and is not interested, he is not obliged to be picked regardless of ability making it a bigger risk for the player.
With McCarthy clearly interested in expanding the quality of his pool, we examine some of the players that may be on his radar to recruit on the granny rule.
1. Nathan Redmond (Southampton)
Despite having one England cap, Nathan Redmond still qualifies for Ireland and Jamaica by virtue of being shy of a competitive game for the Three Lions.
Redmond has quality that exceeds nearly all of Ireland’s current attackers and given the lack of right wingers available to Ireland, they could do a lot worse than get this man on board.
2. Patrick Bamford (Leeds)
One of the Championship’s best strikers over the last few years, Bamford is another player who would add real quality to the Irish attack.
A terrific attacker but also a creator and would fit in nicely to the number 10 role for McCarthy. Last played for Ireland at under-18 level and would be an alternative option.
3. Danny Crowley (Willem II)
Former Arsenal youth Danny Crowley has relaunched his career in Holland and is gaining admirers with his excellent ball control and vision. Another who could play in the number 10 role and also on the right of a midfield three.
Like Bamford, Crowley has played for Ireland underage and stated his preference last year to play of the boys in green.
4. Mikey Johnstone (Celtic)
A genuinely exciting talent, Celtic winger Mikey Johnstone could be a target for McCarthy with Ireland’s wide options stretched.
Johnstone has caught the eye underage for Scotland but with the likes of James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady still on the circuit, he may be tempted into the new set up.
5. Kieran Dowell (Everton)
One of Everton’s most highly rated youngsters, Kieran Dowell whose full surname contains ‘O’Neill’ is also a key asset for the English FA.
The 21 year old midfielder could fit in well to the Irish squad but has struggled for game time under Marco Silva. Was one of the best players in the Championship last season on loan at Nottingham Forest.
6. Ryan Johansson (Bayern Munich)
Having mulled over his international future after an Irish under-19 appearance, Luxembourg born Ryan Johansson has seemingly decided to go green.
However, given that his last appearance internationally was for the his birth countries under-21 side, McCarthy may look to secure him with a senior call-up.
The 17-year-old can play in midfield and right back.
7. Marcus McGuane (Barcelona)
Under FIFA regulations, Marcus McGuane cannot switch allegiances at underage level again having represented both Ireland and England competitively.
However, he is entitled to switch at senior level only and given his tremendous talent could be worth approaching when he returns from injury.
8.Sean Morrison (Cardiff City)
Cardiff’s captain was touted for an Irish call up during his time at Reading but nothing came of it. Now in the top flight, Morrison could be an option and is a similar burly centre half to a young Mick McCarthy.
A teammate Irish internationals Harry Arter, Greg Cunningham, and Anthony Pilkington.
9. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City)
Declared for Ireland nearly two years ago but was not deemed good enough by Martin O’Neill having previously been chased by the ex-Ireland boss.
The 29-year-old striker is enjoying a fruitful season at a surprise Birmingham team but unlike eighteen months ago, Ireland have a lot more choice up top although another option won’t hurt.
10. Grant Hall (QPR)
Another to declare his interest in playing for Ireland, Grant Hall’s injury problems perhaps prevented him from earning an Ireland call up a couple of years ago.
Struggling for game time at Loftus Road and may be a little easier to secure than others on this list. The former Spurs defender is a towering force and a similar defender to Shane Duffy.
11. Brendan Hines-Ike (KV Kortrijk)
American born defender Brendan Hines-Ike was identified as a man who could enter the Irish squad.
A centre half by trade, the 24 year old likes to travel with the ball and gained rave reviews while with Örebro in Sweden before his move to Belgium.
12.Will Keane (Hull City)
Declared for Ireland last year but has not yet warranted a call up. Twin of Everton’s Michael Keane, the 25 year old striker has not hit the highs of his brother despite being considered the more exciting prospect.
Keane has an alarming lack of goals and as it stands, may not bring a huge amount to the striking department.
13. Luke Leahy (Walsall)
Eligible for Scotland and England, Leahy was cited as a left back option for McCarthy by the Independent.
A solid player who likes to get up the pitch, McCarthy may be reluctant to choose a League 1 option when Greg Cunningham, Stephen Ward, Enda Stevens and even Darragh Leahy are available.
14. Kyle Scott (SC Telstar)
A real multicultural player who has represented Ireland and the USA despite being English born.
Part of a talented Chelsea academy and has thrived on loan at Dutch side Telstar. A technically gifted midfielder with the ability of ghosting past players and could be worth a call by big Mick.
15. Sandy Walsh (SV Zulte Waregem)
Dutchman Sandy Walsh came through the renowned Genk academy and qualifies for Ireland on the granny rule.
Comfortable in possession and highly rated,the 23 year old can play across the back four with right back his favored position.
With Seamus Coleman, Matt Doherty and Cyrus Christie all starting Premier League right backs, Walsh may not be a priority recruit.