5 best young Irish footballers in Premier League (February 2023)

Southampton v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg
Southampton v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

Since its inauguration in 1992, the English Premier League has been a hotbed for young Irish footballers. Many excellent young players from Ireland are plying their trade in England's top flight at the moment.

Footballers like Robbie Keane, Roy Keane, and Damien Duff will go down in history as some of the best Irish players the league has seen. However, there is currently a crop of excellent young players in the PL who could go on to rival these big names.

So, without further delay, let's take a look at the best young Irish footballers in the Premier League.

5 best young Irish footballers in the Premier League

#5 Andrew Moran

Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea FC - Premier League

There's a growing contingent of young Irish footballers at Brighton and Hove Albion, and 19-year-old midfielder Andrew Moran is one of the latest to emerge. He made his Premier League debut as a substitute against Everton earlier this month.

Moran is an attacking midfielder whose primary strength is moving the ball forward. He's tricky, confident, assertive, and is known for his excellent combination play.

His numbers in Premier League 2 have been strong this season: he has four goals and six assists in 12 appearances. It's easy to see why Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi has handed him first-team opportunities.

A creative number ten is something that Ireland have sorely lacked in recent years. Brighton are known for providing opportunities to their young players, so there's no doubt that fans will be seeing Moran in blue and white again.

#4 Mark Travers

AFC Bournemouth v Burnley: Emirates FA Cup Third Round
AFC Bournemouth v Burnley: Emirates FA Cup Third Round

The quality of Ireland's goalkeeping prospects is impressive at the moment and Mark Travers of AFC Bournemouth is among the brightest.

Having played a key role in the Cherries' ascent to the Premier League last season, his role has been more limited in the 2022-23 campaign. Brazilian goalkeeper Neto has predominantly taken the spot when fit.

Nevertheless, Travers has quietly built a reputation as a young, solid goalkeeping option over the last few seasons. The 23-year-old has played 11 league matches, making 31 saves. He has also kept 2 clean sheets.

Bournemouth are 18th in the league at the moment, but considering the strength of the squad as a whole, Travers is performing decently. He may never become Ireland's first choice but is cementing his name as a capable, top-level goalkeeper.

#3 Gavin Bazunu

Southampton v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg
Southampton v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

Another member of the Irish goalkeeper boom is Gavin Bazunu. The Southampton shot-stopper has made 20 Premier League appearances this season.

The 20-year-old is already Ireland's first-choice goalkeeper. Bazunu signed from Manchester City for a reported figure of £12 million last summer, and in that time has firmly established his place as one of Ireland's finest young footballers.

Gavin Bazunu has made 35 saves in the league this season, keeping one clean sheet in the process. Considering how poor Southampton have been defensively, these stats aren't too damning. He also won the Premier League award for the best save of November and December 2022 for an excellent save against Liverpool.

He spent last season on loan at Portsmouth and Bazunu has been impressive this year, making the transition from League One to Premier League football with maturity.

#2 Nathan Collins

Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Wolves' Nathan Collins has put in mature performances this season. The 21-year-old centre-back has made 17 league appearances.

Coming fresh off the back of a first league clean sheet since September against West Ham, the young Ireland international has been in impressive form lately. According to WhoScored, he has made 21 tackles, 70 clearances, and 19 blocks in the league. He's an aggressive defender who is willing to step out of his defensive line when necessary.

Collins is one of the best young centre-backs in the top flight. His defensive contributions for Wolves have been excellent this year, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see bigger clubs circling this summer.

#1 Evan Ferguson

Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool FC
Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool FC

No academy prospect has burst onto the Premier League scene quite like Brighton's Evan Ferguson this season. The Irish international, who only turned 18 in October 2022, has been emphatic since the league's restart after the World Cup.

His first Premier League goal for Brighton came in a 4-2 defeat to Arsenal on the 31st of December. He has three goals and two assists in five league appearances already, with just 197 minutes played. The most extraordinary element of Ferguson's play is his ability to out-muscle older and more experienced defenders.

It's no surprise that high flyers Newcastle United are being encouraged to sign him. He's a powerful runner and is dominant in the penalty area, and if he capitalizes on his current form, may go on to hit double figures for the season.

Evan Ferguson is already a fantastic footballer, and the Republic of Ireland are very lucky to have a centre-forward blossom so early into his career.

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Edited by Arshit Garg
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