Former Ireland under-18 Patrick Bamford will most likely make his third appearance in English colours tonight.
The former Nottingham Forest player, who joined Chelsea on a £1.5m fee recently, after just 12 minutes of first team football, has been tipped to win more England caps.
Bamford has already proved his worth on the international stage scoring against the Czech Republic for England in a friendly. His only Irish appearance came in an under 18’s tournament against the Ukraine, in which he had a penalty saved.
His transfer caused quite a stir in Nottingham, “I’m disappointed I’m not going to see Patrick develop in a Nottingham Forest shirt over the next two years,” Forrest Chairman – Frank Clark told BBC radio in Nottingham. Clark went on to ‘bemoan the move, as a sign of the times’.
The qualifying rounds of the competition have allowed Bamford to firmly indicate his change of allegiance from Ireland to England.
The Lincolnshire born forward is an obvious loss to the future of Irish football, having impressed Chelsea scouts, scoring four goals in Nottingham Forest’s 5-1 FA Cup Youth win at Southampton and five in the previous round – a 9-1 hammering of Wigan Athletic.
The Irish under 19’s are currently languishing in third position in their group, with only goal difference propping them up from the foot of the table. The under 19’s competition is held on an annual basis, with Spain being the current holders of the prestigious title, taking their fifth trophy last year in Romania.
The England under 19’s attempt to make a European berth as they face a Swiss side in the final game of the Elite Qualification Round for the under 19’s European Championships. The team, which is managed by Stoke’s former academy coach Noel Blake, sits atop the qualification table on goal difference, ahead of Montenegro. Should the England team qualify; the finals will take place in July in Estonia. The match takes place in Preston North End’s home ground of Deepdale and is due to be screened live on the English F.A website from 7.15pm.