Ronan insists he’s committed to the Republic

The star of Stephen Kenny’s Ireland U21 soccer team, Connor Ronan, has assured Ireland fans that he has no intention of emulating Declan Rice by defecting to his homeland, England.

Ronan insists he’s committed to the Republic

The star of Stephen Kenny’s Ireland U21 soccer team, Connor Ronan, has assured Ireland fans that he has no intention of emulating Declan Rice by defecting to his homeland, England. Wolves playmaker Ronan, currently on loan in Slovakia, earned the man-of-the-match award for his masterclass in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Luxembourg, supplying assists for two of the goals.

Naturally, following the Rice fiasco and, to a lesser extent before him, Jack Grealish, fears surrounding English-born players jumping ship have increased. Ronan and West Ham United midfielder Conor Coventry, another of Kenny’s cadets, will emerge further onto the radar of the English Football Association should their career ascents continue.

Rochdale-born Ronan says he’s committed to Ireland. Wolves gave Ronan his Championship debut when he was a teen, and they rate him highly. The 21-year-old could well be the next dual-eligible player facing a dilemma over his international future. It will have to be at senior level, as he’s only played competitive football up to U21 with Ireland. He had played for England in an U17 friendly.

“England hadn’t shown any interest in me until I’d been called into my first Ireland squad,” said the winger. “It was a funny one, because when the Wolves Academy manager informed me of their interest, I wanted to try out both countries. I got a feel for the England set-up, but I settled into the Ireland camp from the second I came in. I met up with a great set of lads and everything just went right. It was an easy decision.”

When asked whether England had approached him since to reconsider, Ronan said: “No, I’m happy with Ireland. On my dad’s side, my granddad is from Kilkenny and grandmother is from Galway.

“They watched the Luxembourg game at home. It’s hard for them to get over with their age, but they’re always keeping an eye on things. Every time I put that green shirt on, they’re always in the back of my mind. I had family back in England watching the game and some came over to watch, too. The support for me to play for Ireland has been massive. Long may it continue.”

Kenny has praised Ronan for taking an alternative route on the loan circuit. FC DAC 1904 has worked well for the gifted flanker, after a couple of disappointing stints away from Molineux.

“My previous loans, at Portsmouth and Walsall, didn’t go that well, because there wasn’t much time to look into their style before accepting the moves. I had a bit more time on this occasion and could see the team would suit me.

“Once I knew how they played, from watching videos and chatting to Wolves’ staff who had been over there, my mind was made up. It’s a small town, situated about an hour into Bratislava, an hour-and-a-half into Vienna and two hours from Budapest. I brought my car over there and I’m hoping to get about and try to see a few places, before I leave in the summer.”

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