2019 proved to be a brilliant year for young Irish players, but what will 2020 hold for potential future Boys in Green?
The likes of Troy Parrott and Aaron Connolly burst onto the scene to make a name for themselves with both their clubs and country this year and look set to kick on again in 2020.
This time next year though, who will we be discussing as 2020’s breakout Irish stars?
Let’s take a look at some of the contenders.
1) Adam Idah (Norwich City)
We begin with Adam Idah who, still just 18 years of age, became a part of the Norwich City first team in 2019, making his first senior appearance in the League Cup in September.
Idah is highly rated by manager Daniel Farke and it’s not yet known whether he’ll be loaned out or not, but if the striker can find regular first team football in 2020, then he could be in line for a breakout year.
His performances at U21 level for Ireland have seen him score five goals in 11 games with his dominant display leading the line against Sweden last month proving just how promising his future is.
Idah is a well rounded frontman, with the strength and ability on the ball to lead the line while also possessing the flair and pace to run in behind a defence.
If he can secure himself a loan move in 2020, it could be a massive year for the Cork native.
2) Jamie Bowden (Tottenham)
The Irish player at Tottenham who isn’t Troy Parrott, Jamie Bowden isn’t quite a household name yet, but he has the ability to burst onto the scene in 2020.
Bowden was born in England but is an Irish U19 international and has been putting in quite a number of stellar performances with Spurs’ U23s, captaining them in all six of their UEFA Youth League games.
The 18-year-old recently signed a new contract at the club which shows their faith in Bowden’s ability in holding midfield which has been likened to that of Michael Carrick’s.
During his time at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho gave Scott McTominay his break in the starting XI and could do the same with Bowden in the next year if he continues to impress.
3) Anthony Scully (West Ham United)
A goal machine at U23 level in 2019, Anthony Scully’s exploits in front of goal at the beginning of this season have been reminiscent of Aaron Connolly’s for Brighton last year.
Scully is 20, meaning he’s older than most on this list, but an injury last year hampered his progress and now that he finds himself as a striker instead of a midfielder, he is beginning to thrive.
The London born Irish U19 international has scored 14 goals and created five in just 13 games, with Scully securing the Premier League 2 Player of the Month award for September.
The striker is another who may need a loan move, as it appears as though he’s hit his ceiling at U23 level, or find himself getting a chance in the West Ham first team which looks unlikely under Manuel Pellegrini.
Scully may still be slightly under the radar, but 2020 could certainly be his year.
4) Gavin Kilkenny (Bournemouth)
The former St Kevins Boys midfielder has had a tremendous last six months, finding himself impressing in pre-season for Bournemouth, making his senior debut in the League Cup and featuring on the bench in the Premier League.
Eddie Howe has already shown great faith in the 19-year-old in his first season around the first team and he isn’t likely to be loaned out, but the club have trusted youth in the past and Kilkenny could be next.
The Irish U21 international can operate in midfield or out wide and is technically excellent, with 2020 likely to be the year he kicks on and improves once again.
5) Zak Elbouzedi (Lincoln City)
His first season back in English football since leaving West Brom, Zack Elbouzedi’s move to League One’s Lincoln City will be an intriguing storyline to follow throughout the year.
Elbouzedi impressed last season at Waterford in the League of Ireland and has continually improved under Stephen Kenny with the Irish U21s, grabbing two goals in their last two victories and looking like a real leader in the side.
Moving to a new club in January is never easy but Elbouzedi has the talent to hit the ground running at Sincil Bank and really make an impression on his return to English football.
The 20-year-old will no doubt benefit from a full season of senior football at the RSC last year and could see 2020 as a breakout year.