The future of some of our Irish footballers appears to be uncertain with many out of contract at the end of June. Of course, those deals could be extended by a few weeks to complete their respective seasons.
But it does remain to be seen whether the likes of Jeff Hendrick or Glenn Whelan will need or want to find a new club. A few weeks ago, Robbie Brady would have been included in this list but he will spend another season with Sean Dyche’s Burnley. But anyway, let’s take a look at the individuals whose future is up in the air.
Jeff Hendrick (Burnley)
The latest reports suggest Italian sides AC Milan and AS Roma are keen on signing the 28-year-old. He’s been a regular name on the team sheet for Burnley so some may question why he wouldn’t sign a new deal. But this man definitely has more to give, it can’t be ideal when he’s playing out of position on the wing. Even the style Burnley play, cannot suit him. It would be brilliant if he went to the right club and brought back that form that he was in during Euro 2016. It’s been tough watching him in a green jersey in recent years, but all it takes is the right team with the right set up. I’d be hopeful we can see more of Hendricks’s quality should go elsewhere.
Rob Elliot (Newcastle United)
At one stage the London born goalkeeper found himself playing regularly in the Premier League. Consistent injuries have hampered his progress tho. The main one being when he last wore the Ireland jersey. On March 29th 2016, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury, this saw him ruled out of Euro 2016 and he’s never managed to get his international career back on track since. Slovakia goalkeeper Dubravka has practically made the number one spot at Newcastle his own. So the chances of the 33-year-old getting in anytime soon are slim. Although he appears keen to fight for his place, I can’t see how it would be beneficial if he stayed there. A new club, a new start is probably what he needs right now.
Jimmy Dunne (Burnley)
The Louth man has had his fair share of loan spells across the UK. The 22-year-old is yet to make an appearance for the Burnley first team. However, I think Sean Dyche would be mad to let a promising player like him go. From Barrow in the National League to Fleetwood Town in League Two. He’s gained crucial first-team opportunities, 74 appearances in total. He’s still developing as a player so there’s no rush in terms of needing a move away. Once he’s promised playing time, even if he has to go on loan again. That will be fine for now.
Glenn Whelan (Fleetwood Town)
The 36-year-old is still going strong for his current club Fleetwood Town. Remarkably the club was 11th in the table before the midfielder arrived. They’ve since climbed to 5th and Whelan has played every game before the season came to a conclusion. And whatever about the fact that it’s League One. It still shows that the Dubliner has something to give as Joey Barton’s side didn’t lose during that magnificent run of matches either. His Ireland chances may be slipping away with Kenny bound to be using young and emerging players. However, whether Fleetwood decides to extend his current short term deal or not. I’ve no doubt another EFL club would be delighted to pick up this man. Because he still does a job and no one can deny that.
Kieran Sadlier (Doncaster Rovers)
The former Sligo Rovers and Cork City winger certainly got caught the eye during his 2-year spell in the League of Ireland. Ever since he’s gone back to the UK to join Doncaster Rovers in League One. He has flourished. Scoring 11 times and playing in all bar one game this season. He was offered a contract earlier this season but is yet to accept it. It’s unknown whether he plans to stay. Doncaster is a team who is fighting to a playoff position so he’s at a good club for the moment. Hopefully, he can sign a new deal and continue to impress.
Eoin Doyle (Swindon Town)
The Tallaght man hit the headlines this season. He became just the second player this century to score in 11 successive league matches in England’s top four divisions. During this time, he picked up three consecutive player of the month awards as well. It really is astonishing stuff and it’s no wonder Swindon Town signed him up permanently last January. The only problem being is that deal runs out this summer. It’s hard to imagine that the League Two side will let him for free. Who knows tho, maybe a club higher up, will take a punt on the 32-year-old.
Kieran O Hara (Manchester United)
The 24-year-old is still technically under contract at Premier League side Manchester United. In all likelihood, when that deal comes to a conclusion at the end of June, he won’t be offered a new one. He has had some very successful loan spells at Burton Albion, and before that at Macclesfield Town. These regular appearances at both League Two and League One level have been a massive learning curve for him. He may not be as highly thought of like our other young goalkeepers but he’s still someone who could wear the Irish jersey in the future. A permanent move to a team in the English leagues will help his chances of getting into Stephen Kenny’s squad.
Stephen Ward (Stoke City)
The 34-year-old was lured to Stoke City by his former Brighton manager Nathan Jones last summer. As you may know, Michael O Neill has replaced the latter so it’s hard to know if Ward is in his plans. The former Ireland international has managed to play in 14 league games so far. Injuries have disrupted his progress tho. I’d be quite shocked if Stoke did decide to extend his deal as I can personally see the left-back offering much.
So there you have it, some of the Irish contingent who will either need their contract renewed or will be forced to look elsewhere.