Academy Irish: Blackburn and Everton
Carrying on from the first Academy article from yesterday, this article shall concentrate on the young Irish talent at Blackburn and Everton respectively. Both teams are in Academy Group C.
A very exciting prospect, the tall elegant defender has already represent Ireland at under 18 level. Very much from the new breed of central defenders who are both strong in the air and comfortable in possession. O’Connor was a regular for Blackburn’s Academy side last season and a number of excellent displays saw him go on to make 4 appearances for the Blackburn reserves. O’Connor will be hoping this season to build on the steady progress he has made thus far.
Just turned 17 last week, O’Sullivan certainly has time on his side. A very versatile player, O’Sullivan has the ability to play out wide, through the middle and also further up front. O’Sullivan has represented the Republic of Ireland at schoolboys level. With only 4 appearances under his belt, O’Sullivan will be hoping to settle in well at Ewood park over the coming months.
Although born in Salford Manchester, Henegan is eligible to play for both England and the Republic of Ireland. A very tall central defender, Henegan is two months into a full time scholarship. Intelligent on the ball, his positional play is his main strength. Ben himself admits that he needs to work on his speed and heading ability. Having just turned 17, time is certainly on his side to improve these elements of his game.
Kinsella is a highly motivated tackling midfielder who is one of the more vocal players on the pitch for Everton. Made numerous appearances for Everton’s Under-18 side in 2008/09, as well as making his debut for the reserves. Kinsella found himself on the goalsheet for Ireland under 16s in their 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the Ballymena Tournament Final.
It is always nice to see an ex Irish player still enjoying a successful career in the game they love so much. Everton legend Kevin assists in the development of technically excellent players for the Academy’s full-time player programme. He is involved in all technical work, the monitoring of youth players’ performance and preparation. Sheedy represented Ireland 47 times and is remembered fondly for his strike against England at Italia 1990.