Ireland U-21 stars Dara O’Shea and Jayson Molumby both made competitive senior appearances last night, as West Brom took on Millwall in the EFL Cup.
O’Shea lined out at the heart of the West Brom defence, while Molumby pulled the strings in midfield on the first appearance of his loan-spell for Millwall from Premier League side Brighton.
The sides played out a 1-1 draw in the league at the weekend, but West Brom took an early lead through Charlie Austin before the Lions responded via Tom Bradshaw. The Irish stamp on the game was further emphasised, as it was Millwall’s Aiden O’Brien who poked home the winner in a big morale-boosting win for his side.
Molumby impressed in midfield, coming short to pick up the ball and constantly driving forward, exuding composure and confidence that his side has been lacking in his 60-minute cameo.
Millwall boss Neil Harris was full of praise for the Waterford man after his debut:
“Jayson was outstanding. I think he showed the fans tonight his qualities and what a good player he’s going to be in the future and for us as well while we have him.”
O’Shea looked far from out of place at the back, with many tipping him to be involved regularly in the Baggie’s promotion push. Two goals conceded from set pieces will not please manager Slaven Bilic, but it will be a good experience for the Dubliner to get senior minutes under his belt.
Elsewhere, 18-year-old Nathan Collins had a real night to remember, captaining Stoke and scoring in their 1-0 win over Wigan. The prodigy who has been linked with a host of top clubs further enhanced his reputation with a solid display, one that Ireland boss Mick McCarthy will certainly be keeping eyes on – as he does his chances of cementing his place in the Stoke line-up no harm once more.
There are promising signs for Ireland at youth level, and with senior minutes aplenty, the potential of these stars will only grow ten-fold.