It’s harder than ever for young Irish players to make the grade in England

He was a sub for an already-relegated side who lost 4-0 at home, so the Premier League debut last weekend for Norwich City’s Irish youth cap Tony Springett didn’t really make waves in the football world.

ut when the winger (19) came on for the second half – his side already 3-0 down against West Ham – it was significant, and face-saving, from an Irish point of view. By coming on, the teenager became the 15th player eligible for the Republic to play in the Premier League this season, a welcome boost: to have just 14 players in that league across a season would have been an all-time low in three decades of Premier League football.

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