12 November 2022
By Roger Kennedy
“Jack Grealish of Aston Villa comes under” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland
It will be of little consolation to Irish football fans who saw their team eliminated from this year’s World Cup. The country has failed to make the finals since 2002 and that’s an issue that the current administration needs to address.
However, for those that are interested, there are two former Ireland Under 21 internationals to follow in Qatar. Unfortunately, both Declan Rice and Jack Grealish will be aiming to bring the trophy home for England, and their involvement underlines one of the problems within the set up.
To be fair to both Grealish and Rice, they were born in England and were using the ancestry rule by playing through the Ireland youth ranks. In the case of Rice, he made three senior appearances for the Irish side in 2018 before switching his allegiance a year later.
It’s something of a vicious circle: Young players want to be involved in the biggest tournaments and Ireland’s poor recent record in the World Cup is a barrier to their participation. At the same time, the national team will be weaker if the trend continues to be repeated.
In theory, five of the likely England squad for Qatar could have been playing in green. Along with Declan Rice and Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips could have all represented the Republic of Ireland due to their ancestry.
Instead of playing in green, all five will be targeting a successful World Cup with Three Lions on their shirts.
Targets for Rice and Grealish
Anyone who does want to cheer on their former national players can follow the fortunes of Declan Rice, Jack Grealish and others at the 2022 World Cup. Having reached the semifinals of Russia 2018, England will start as third favourites to win the trophy this time around.
The betting community can follow the tournament over at sbo.net where extensive odds and World Cup betting guides are published. Options for outright winner, leading goal scorer and a host of match markets are in place.
While studying the figures, readers can also check out news and opinion articles while each sportsbook referenced here receives an extensive review. Those who wish to get more involved can follow the links and register with any of SBO’s recommended panel.
All operators will accept new customers who complete a fast and secure online sign up process. Once taken care of, it’s likely that a generous welcome promotion will be on the table. A set of deposit and withdrawal providers can handle secure online transactions, while customer services can step in for those that need help.
Those that continue to play can enjoy future benefits. Most sportsbooks provide ongoing bonuses while the vast majority will also publish live markets and a mobile betting app. In short, it’s a logical site to follow for all forms of World Cup betting, and it will also cover Ireland’s internationals once the tournament is complete.
The Future for Irish Football
Some fans will be idealists and would like to see the Irish football team filled with players born in Ireland. However, they will also be aware of successful teams in the recent past who were boosted by the likes of John Aldridge, Ray Houghton, Chris Hughton, Tony Galvin and many others.
The global footballing landscape is more open these days. Barriers are crossed all over the world and that can only be a good thing. Players can never be restricted to their country of birth and, in any event, few football fans outside of England would be happy to see the Leeds-born Erling Haaland pull on a Three Lions shirt.
The good news is that there is plenty of young talent in and around the current Republic of Ireland squad. Southampton’s Gavin Bazunu has made the goalkeeper’s position his own at the age of just 20. He should be pushed in the future by 23-year-old Caoimhin Kelleher, but the Liverpool stopper should be seeking more game time.
At the other end of the pitch, Spurs’ 20-year-old striker Troy Parrott already has four goals from 17 senior appearances. With youngsters Michael Obafemi, Jayson Malumby, Callum O’Dowda and Nathan Collins also involved in recent squads, the future can be bright and it can also be green.