The Premier League is arguably one of the most attractive leagues in world football and, as a result, is home to players of many different nationalities. Over the years, there have been a considerable number of Irish footballers who have plied their trade in the English top-flight, especially former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane, who was arguably one of the best players in world football during his prime years.
At first, it was seen as a gamble to take a chance on an Irish footballer, however, Keane changed all that, and ever since there have been many who have followed in his footsteps. Namesake Robbie Keane who had much success at Leeds United and Tottenham as well as a spell with Liverpool was always the subject of a wager from gamblers who would often bet on him to finish as top-scorer. While he is no longer playing, it is still possible to make similar bets or enjoy any other kind of gambling activity as well.
It seems that there has always been a steady flow of Irish players in the Premier League since though, and it is easy to overlook this, compared to players from nations such as Spain, Italy, Germany, and France, not to mention nations in South America. As a result, Irish players often go ‘under the radar’.
However, right now, the Premier League still has a firm presence of Irish footballers, which got us thinking. What is the best Irish XI currently playing in the English top-flight? Continue reading to find out below!
Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph
Presently enjoying his second spell with West Ham United, Randolph has always been a reliable pair of hands in goal and has represented Republic of Ireland on 47 occasions. The 33-year-old really made his name at English second tier side Birmingham City where he featured on 91 occasions. An obvious choice really.
Right back: Seamus Coleman
Once ranked as one of the best in his position in world football, Coleman burst onto the scene at Everton and was a mainstay for many years. While injuries have plagued him over the last couple of seasons, the 32-year-old is still seen as an important player at the club and has 56 caps for his country.
Left back: Robbie Brady
While he can also play further forward, the 28-year-old has been used at full back on multiple occasions by his current club Burnley and has proven to be a reliable member of manager Sean Dyche’s team. Beginning his career at Manchester United, he has been capped on 51 occasions for The Boys in Green.
Centre back: Shane Duffy
The Brighton centre half has gone from strength to strength for the Seagulls in the Premier League and is regarded as one of the most capable defenders in the top flight. Arguably the lynchpin in his country’s defence, he has been capped 38 times. He is currently on loan with Celtic but he still counts.
Centre back: Ciaran Clark
Highly versatile, capable of filling in at left back or central midfield, Clark has become a reliable figure club Newcastle United and at 31 has a wealth of experience, which has translated into 34 international caps, along with two goals.
Centre back: John Egan
Had a very successful first season in the Premier League for Sheffield United and helped to form an almost formidable rearguard for the Blades. The 27-year-old has 11 caps for his country and will no doubt build on that.
Central midfield: James McCarthy
A tenacious midfielder who is a key cog in the Crystal Palace team, McCarthy also had a successful spell with Everton. The 29-year-old has starred on 42 occasions for Republic of Ireland, and we really could not leave him out.
Central medfield: Jeff Hendrick
Known mostly for his time spent with Burnely, the 28-year-old completed a free transfer to Newcastle United for the 2020/21 season and is a reliable addition to any team, as highlighted by his 58 international appearances.
Central midfield: Conor Hourihane
Arguably the more creative cog in our midfield, the Aston Villa midfielder who made his name at Norwich City has had some impressive performances for his current club. Heavily relied on by his national team and has 21 caps to his name.
Striker: Shane Long
The evergreen Southampton forward always has a goal in his locker and despite being 33, he has been capped 85 times and has netted 17 times for his country.
Striker: David McGoldrick
The second Blades player in our team and while he has struggled for goals in the Premier League, there is no doubt that the 32-year-old does know where the net is as demonstrated by his 15 strikes for his club on their way into the English top tier. He has been capped on 14 occasions.