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Joe Gamble: “If We’re Serious About Irish Football, We Need To Invest In Our Own Kids”

Former Cork City and Limerick player Joe Gamble says that a lack of funding has been a major problem for player development in Ireland.

Speaking to Pundit Arena’s Irish football podcast The Mixer this week, the former Ireland international outlines the biggest problem that the domestic games is facing, one that could be at least partially solved by the league’s governing body.

“The biggest problem with the League of Ireland is that there’s no funding, the FAI don’t put anything into it.

“The clubs don’t have the resources to pile money in. It needs to be a joint venture if Ireland are serious about producing players. I know what they’ve done, I think it’s fantastic what they’ve done with the u13, 15, 17, 19 – now I know a lot of schoolboy clubs have complained about it but for me, it’s the only way we can produce better players by having academies at each club.

“But if we’re serious about developing football in this country and making a top international team, we need more. We need more coaching, more resources, more investment, we need more of everything.”

Gamble, now Strength and Conditioning coach at Limerick, believes that the League of Ireland graduates in the national squad should be used as an example for what can be achieved with the right investment – and has called on the FAI to create more funding to make that happen.

“Look through the whole {Ireland] squad – Seamus Coleman came through Sligo, Stephen Ward came through Bohs, David Meyler through Cork City, Daryl Murphy through Waterford, Seani Maguire, Kevin Long, James McClean. 

“I could name a few more than that but the point is the players are there, the production line is there and we need to catch them at a younger age in this country and give them the opportunity to be the best that they can possibly be. But for that to happen, the clubs need money, the FAI need to put money into it.

“The FAI need to push the league. What it looks like now is that the FAI don’t want to spend any money, and the clubs are dying for investment. So if we’re serious about Irish football and to produce the next McClean, Shane Long etc., we need to invest in our own kids in this country. We can’t expect them to go to England and let the English teams produce them.

“If we invest in our own then over the next ten years then we could have even better players coming through.”

Hear more from Joe on this week’s episode of the Mixer, in which we also discuss a hugely positive week for the Irish national team along with our usual roundup of the latest League of Ireland action.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.