Irish-eligible footballer wins Sweden's Pop Idol

Meet Kevin Walker - the singing midfielder who's just become a household name in Sweden. And his dad's from Carlow.

Irish-eligible footballer wins Sweden's Pop Idol

(Picture: Annika Berglund)

You may not have heard of footballer Kevin Walker - but the 24-year-old midfielder with Swedish second division side GIF Sundsvall has just become Stockholm's answer to Niall Horan.

The singing soccer star trumped rival Elin Bergman to win the ninth series of Idol Sverige (Sweden's Pop Idol) on Friday night, catapulting him to stardom in the Scandinavian country.

And his dad's from Carlow, meaning that he's qualified to play for the Republic of Ireland.

Watch Kevin speaking after his win (in English).

Kevin's tale began a few months ago when eagle-eyed producers spotted a clip of him jamming with a GIF teammate and he was asked to audition.

For his first appearance before the judges he sang 'Soldier' by Gavin DeGraw (nope, us neither).

Kevin's dad Pat, a Carlow man, is a former Ireland Under-21 international and played for Bohemians in the 1980s before moving to Sweden in 1983 where he carved out a successful career on the pitch and later in management, according to The Emerald Exiles.

Kevin and his brother Robert - also a footballer - were both born in Orebro, Sweden and have spent their footballing careers in a variety of clubs there.

The singing footballer schtick evidently struck a chord with Swedish viewers - and the fact that he's a bit of a looker didn't hurt - as Walker stayed in the Pop Idol competition until the bitter end, despite taking some flak from football fans over his priorities, and some show critics over his ability to hold a tune.

(Kevin with fellow contestants Erik Rapp and Elin Bergman)

In the final on Friday night Kevin sang U2's 'Where The Streets Have No Name' before joining with Robbie Williams and fellow finalist Bergman for 'Shine My Shoes'.

He wins a recording contract with Universal Music and releases a single - 'Belong' in time for the Christmas market.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Walker will commit to a career in the music industry or stick with his first love of football.

"I’m a football player and I love singing," he told The Emerald Exiles.

"If I can combine the two, it would be a dream come true for me. All I can do is take it as it comes.”

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