Former Celtic and Derry City star Paddy McCourt believes young talented Irish players should develop in the Irish League or League of Ireland instead of chasing the glitz and glamour of cross channel football.
Now at Luton Town, the 31-year old McCourt, first crossed the Irish Sea to sign for Rochdale were he spent four years before coming back home to sign for Shamrock Rovers side before joinging his home town club.
He said the “the League of Ireland and the Irish League can be a great place for young players to learn the game.”
“There must have been eight or nine players leave Derry City for English and Scottish clubs in the last 10 years who will now be going to the Euros,” said McCourt.
“If they don’t get a move at a very young age, they can learn the game and I know coming back to Shamrock Rovers and Derry City after being at Rochdale at a young age really helped me.
“You only have to look at Richie Towell going to Brighton last week. It shows that players who haven’t been given a chance across the water or didn’t make it for whatever reason, still have a chance if they do well in the League of Ireland or Irish League.
“The likes of Celtic and Championship clubs are always looking at players they may have missed out on at an earlier age.
“My son is seven now and if he asked me when he’s a bit older if he should go to a League One club or learn the game at Derry City, it would be a big choice.”
The winger hopes to be part of the Northern Ireland sqaud France bound next summer for the Euros.