Ireland football journalist Dan McDonnell joined The Football Show to discuss Ireland's under-17 team and the rising star of Mason Melia.
Mason Melia was born in 2007. He is currently starring for Ireland's under-17 team as they reach the quarter-finals of the European Championships.
But away from Ireland, Melia is also playing for League of Ireland side St. Patricks Athletic. He has been involved with the senior team already despite his relative youth. And he is likely to stay in Ireland for the foreseeable future rather than following in the path of the likes of James Abankwah who moved to Italy as a teenager.
Dan McDonnell explains that Melia will likely be playing in Ireland until 2026 since a move to continental Europe doesn't appeal to him.
That puts a huge onus on the Dublin-based side to develop him properly.
"He's a striker, he is such a talent," McDonnell said.
"And I've spoken to people at St. Pat's about him who say this. He's already made his debut for St. Pat's first team. The vibe would appear to be that he's not particularly sold on the European route. Now we'll see. That can always change if he gets a good offer after the tournament.
"But that means Mason Melia is going to be at home here until 2026. He turns 18 in the Autumn of 2025."
Melia is just 15 despite his starring role at an under-17 competition. And since he will likely be staying in Ireland until he reaches adulthood, his coming years will be critical in his development. St. Patrick's Athletic will likely have to nurture him during these formative footballing years.
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