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The FAI should follow Northern Ireland’s football association in setting up a national academy, according to Niall Quinn.

The former Republic of Ireland international was at the Virgin Media Dundalk Roadshow, along with Keith Andrews and Damien Delaney, and spoke about how Ireland can look to create more talent.

“We don’t have a national academy. It went unnoticed but Northern Ireland launched theirs six or eight weeks ago.

“They have actually made their own academy where players from around the clubs come into a special unit, they get great education should things not work out but they get the life of a footballer as well before they’re thrust into a bigger environment.

“They will be prepared better than us and they will play to a system, that Northern Ireland way… the way the first team plays. They’ll bring it right the way through and it’s attractive.

“We can all agree Northern Ireland are a good watch. They’re going to do okay. We should be doing five times what Northern Ireland are capable of doing. But we’re not doing anywhere near it,” Quinn said.

Looking to other small European nations for success

Other smaller European nations such as the Netherlands and Belgium could also provide Ireland with a template on how to develop young players.

Keith Andrews believed League of Ireland clubs have improved massively in terms of coaching, Belgium and the Netherlands are still far superior.

“The standard of coaching is far superior than what it was, there’s no doubt about it. So we are coaching at a higher level than what we have been historically.

“Where are we in terms of those other leagues? I think they’re streets ahead of us, to be perfectly honest.

“The facilities, what they have at their disposal. It’s very difficult to aspire to that level but we need to obviously try,” Andrews commented.

Virgin Media Sport has over 400 UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Nations League games live this season, and is available to all Virgin Media TV customers who can also download the TV Anywhere App and stream all the action whenever and wherever they like


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FAI IFA Keith Andrews Niall Quinn Northern Ireland

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