Paddy Mulligan urges more Irish players to sample continental football

Former Ireland defender wants to see more Irish players thinking beyond just going to the UK

BY Raf Diallo 16:08 Monday 29 May 2017, 16:08 29 May 2017

Barcelona's Sergi Samper and Apoel Nicosia's Cillian Sheridan battle for the ball. Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Former Ireland and Chelsea full back Paddy Mulligan wants to see more Irish players trying their luck on the continent.

This season's Premier League showed just how few Irish players are plying their trade in the top flight, especially when it comes to players under the age of 25 which is a concern at international level in the long term.

Few Irish players feature on the continent with Cillian Sheridan the most high profile, with the striker starring in Poland.

"I remember saying 20-30 years ago that Irish players should be looking to go on the continent. I remember saying that to people and they looked at me as if I had 10 heads on me," Paddy, who coached at Greek giants Panathinaikos in the early '80s, told me.

Adding that Martin O'Neill would lose nothing by trying out a player like Sheridan, who is one of the few Irishmen to taste Champions League football in recent years during his time in Cyprus, Paddy feels more players should follow suit. 

"Playing in England or Scotland or Wales just can't be the be all and end all. You've got to have your sights fixed firmly on 'can I get to the continent?' Do continental managers and coaches want Irish players? Because they might be thinking, they're so similar to English players. But we're not that similar to English players and Irish players, I have always felt, have a little bit more flair than their counterparts across the water and it would be great if we could get Irish players to start going on the continent. But then agents are involved and then the money aspect comes into it." 

You can listen to the full chat with Paddy below which includes his thoughts on the FA Cup final, Ireland matches and the upcoming Champions League final:

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