With Gareth Southgate’s apparent interest in Declan Rice reported during the week, fear of another Jack Grealish-like saga has surfaced.
Ireland’s grasp on the ‘granny rule’ has been less successful in recent years. Anthony Pilkington and Harry Arter are two who were touted for England call-ups only to fully commit to Ireland. However, the likes of Jack Grealish, Michael Keane, Marcus McGuane and Jordan Graham have jumped ship having represented Ireland at youth level.
Here we examine a number of other Irish players that have attracted interest from other countries. Although some have already received caps for Ireland at underage level, other countries may be interested in calling upon their services.
The FAI are clearly not the only organisation with hard-working scouts and could lose a number of players over the next few years.
6. Michael Obafemi (Southampton)
Dublin-born Obafemi made the headlines after coming off the bench for Southampton against Spurs recently, nearly scoring in the process.
Still a very raw talent but seems to be admired by both the Nigerian and English FAs. The 17-year-old could be a long way off international football but given that he is one of only a handful of Irish players in the Premier League, Martin O’Neill may give him some experience in the senior set-up to tie him down.
5. Armstrong Okoflex (Arsenal)
Another Ireland underage international of Nigerian decent, Armstrong Okoflex is one of the stars of both the Ireland and Arsenal under-16s.
The 15-year-old seems to be something of a wonderkid and although still young, could be part of a three-way tug-of-war with Ireland, Nigeria and England for the next several years.
4. Mateusz Hewelt (Everton)
An exception of the group as he has yet to win an Ireland cap but Poland-born Hewelt was in the process of obtaining an Irish passport in 2016.
Highly-rated at Everton and has been involved with the first team already, the former Stella Maris and Shelbourne player could be faced with the choice between Poland and Ireland.
3. Olomide Shodipo (QPR)
Yet another man to be tracked by the Nigerian FA, Leixlip-born Olamide Shodipo looked like the real deal after his debut for QPR in 2016.
However, injury has disrupted the winger’s progress as did Ian Holloway’s appointment. The 54-year-old has not taken a shine to the 20-year-old, who is also eligible for England through residency.
2. Anthony Scully (West Ham United)
Son of Dubiner Tony Scully, Anthony is a teammate of Declan Rice at West Ham. The tricky winger is highly-regarded at the London Stadium and could follow Rice and Josh Cullen into the first team.
He has been closely monitored by England, although he seems set to remain within the Irish set-up.
1. Kian Flanagan (Crystal Palace)
Another highly-rated England-born player with proud Irish roots. Crystal Palace attacker Flanagan is regarded as one of development football’s brightest young prospects and has been involved with the Irish under-19s.
The 18-year-old has been linked with some of England’s top sides as well as a switch to England internationally.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena