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Highlights on Off The Ball

Johansson "feels amazing" after declaring for the Boys in Green

Ryan Johansson admits that he feels a greater attachment to Ireland out of the three nations he c...


Johansson "feels amazing" after declaring for the Boys in Green

Ryan Johansson admits that he feels a greater attachment to Ireland out of the three nations he could have played international football for.

The 20-year-old Sevilla midfielder qualifies for Luxembourg where he was born, and for whom he played twice at under-21 level, while he also played underage football for his father's native Sweden.

Johansson's mother is Irish and he represented Ireland at under-19 level previously but he can now play for the Boys in Green permanently after being denied in 2019 due to a FIFA ruling around eligibility.

"It feels amazing. It was quite the long wait but definitely worth it. I honestly don’t think it has sunk in yet," Johansson told FAI TV.

"I think playing with the team and putting the shirt on will definitely be nerve-wracking but exciting. Now I’m concentrating on the next time I can play with the team."

It was the Luxembourg FA that questioned his eligibility, due to the fact they had capped him twice with their under-21 side before he acquired his Irish passport.

FIFA's new rules state that even if a player does not hold the documents relevant to the nationality they want to switch allegiance to, when they play for the other nation, they will be allowed to change.

"There were multiple reasons and it was never easy to turn down countries I love – and I’m very patriotic for all three countries I am eligible for – but I do feel more attached to Ireland," added Johansson.

"I have a lot of family there, my mother is Irish but also football was an important factor brought into the decision. Also the professionalism of the Irish coaches and how they handled everything as well as the staff from the FAI for setting me up to be able to play for Ireland.

"Playing with Ireland in the Under-19s was an amazing experience. I think I was welcomed very well into the team through the coaches and the players – so multiple reasons that made me make the decision.

"But once it came down to it and once my parents asked me the questions, ‘who do you really want to play for?’ and ‘what is your final decision?’,  it was a no brainer in a sense of choosing Ireland.

"That’s where my heart wanted to go."

Johansson is currently still playing for Sevilla Atletico, the B team of La Liga highflyers, making 15 appearances and he spent three years at the Bayern Munich academy before his move to Spain.

He believes that there is enough young Irish talent coming through to achieve success with his national side.

"Like with most national teams, I want to play in the European Championships and the World Cup," said Johansson.

"I think anything is possible with the talent coming through with Ireland right now. You see a lot of young players playing in the first team and I think that’s a big advantage for Ireland moving forward.

"I hope, and I think, that Ireland can do amazing things with football. Hopefully some trophies and some silverware – that’s the ultimate goal."


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