Irish in the Premier League – A Review

20 March 2019; Conor Hourihane and John Egan, right, lead their team-mates during a Republic of Ireland training session at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Enda Stevens, Sheffield United: 8/10

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The Dublin born left wing back has had by most accounts a stellar start to the 19/20 season under the tutelage of Chris Wilder and Sheffield United. Whilst only contributing 2 assists it has been Stevens impressive defensive displays that have so far earned him plaudits from across the premier league. Sheffield United have one of the sternest defences in England at the moment and Stevens plays no small part in that having played every game for the blades so far this campaign. He has played apart in keeping 5 clean sheets in 15 games and conceding just 15 goals making their defence the third best throughout the premier league with only high-flying Liverpool and Leicester bettering them. Overall Stevens has been fantastic this season and Ireland fans will be hopeful that Stevens carries his good form with him into the Euros playoffs.

Aaron Connolly, Brighton and Hove Albion: 7/10

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Many dubbed this man the future of Irish football after he burst onto the scene with an explosive performance against a struggling spurs side with 2 goals and a clear man of the match display on his premier league debut. Whilst Connolly may have slowed done since then terms of goalscoring the performances have certainly still been there. The young man has made 11 appearances for an exciting Brighton side led by Graham Potter. His incredible work rate and chasing down of the opposition has impressed many as Brighton have produced some shocks over the likes of Everton and Arsenal in which Connolly again played an important role. He even managed to burst into the Ireland squad, and many are already hailing him as one of Irelands better players right now. Connolly’s lack of goals does not take away from some brilliant performances for Brighton this season and he is certainly one to look out for in the future. 

Conor Hourihane, Aston Villa: 7/10

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The Aston Villa man has been in and out of the team so far this season but when he has played, he has been very impressive. With 2 goals and 2 assists in just 10 appearances including a stunning free kick in a win against fellow relegation rivals Newcastle United in a 2-0 win at Villa park. Whilst he has struggled to find a regular place in the starting 11, he has been an extremely useful squad player for Villa and a good attacking option from midfield. He may have been panned for a poor performance against Chelsea on Wednesday night but other than that he has been quite impressive in his limited game time so far this campaign. A good set piece taker, his creativity has helped Villa on multiple occasions, and he is sure to be a useful asset in the Ireland squad for years to come.

Jeff Hendrick, Burnley: 6/10

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The experienced centre midfielder has again been one of Burnley’s key players in another so far decent campaign for the claret and blue side. He has played 13 games and scored twice in another fairly consistent season for the 54 cap Ireland international. While Burnley have had a season of ups and downs Hendrick has been an almost ever presence and has brought a physicality and some creativity to a mostly disciplined Burnley side which has at times lacked that cutting edge in recent years. He has been an ever present for Burnley in their recent premier league revival over the last few years and has been consistently good throughout that period and this has been similar this season as he has been one of Burnley’s more standout players during this campaign and is almost guaranteed a place in Irelands Euro Playoffs squad.

Matt Doherty, Wolves: 9/10

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The closest thing Ireland have currently to a starting top 6 players Matt Doherty has once again shined for a brilliant Wolves side how are bound to be right in the race for champions league qualification. Doherty has been involved in all but one of Wolves games this season as they have been brilliant causing some big upsets and battling right at the top of the premier league this season. Doherty has again been one of Wolves stars this season even getting on the scoresheet twice from right back and causing the opposition problems from the right wing. Whilst Doherty does have some impressive attacking figures this season, he is much more reliable when it comes to the defensive side of things making himself a nightmare for opposition wingers and proving himself once again as a top end premier league player who has earned the right to be compared with the best fullbacks in England.


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