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12th Jun 2023

Stephen Kenny offers concerning update after English FA approach Tom Cannon

Patrick McCarry

Tom Cannon

Seamus Coleman needs to have a word (or two).

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has confirmed he was told by the agent of Tom Cannon that the Everton forward had been approached by the English FA with an eye to him switching international allegiances.

The 20-year-old, who is from Aintree in Liverpool, has represented Ireland at U19, U20 and U21 level and, last month, was called into the senior squad by Kenny. Cannon respectfully turned down the invitation as he had tonsillitis but, through his agent, has since informed Kenny that he ‘needed time to breathe and see what the situation was’.

After making his senior debut for Everton, under Frank Lampard, last season, Cannon was loaned to Preston in January and scored eight goals in 21 games. He will be hoping that Sean Dyche, the new Toffees boss, gives him a fair crack in pre-season, and beyond.

While taking some time off before a big 2023/24 push and focusing on his health may have been foremost in his mind, there is no doubt the English FA trying to get him to switch allegiances has clouded his thoughts. Kenny was asked about the situation on Sunday and his update was somewhat concerning.

Tom CannonTom Cannon of Republic of Ireland after his side’s victory in the Under-21 international friendly against and Iceland, at Turners Cross in Cork. (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

Stephen Kenny on Tom Cannon

News of the English FA trying to get Tom Cannon to switch from Ireland to England broke over the weekend and Stephen Kenny was asked about it at a briefing ahead of the upcoming games against Greece and Gibraltar.

Kenny spoke openly about the situation, with the latest information he had available. As reported by RTE, he commented:

“It’s better to be honest about these things. I saw the story breaking about Tom in one of the English papers. Tom hasn’t said anything to me about that.

“Now obviously he had tonsillitis and pulled out of the camp and it sort of made it difficult selecting him because he hadn’t been doing training, he hadn’t been doing the programmes that we had set. He has a good attitude and is a good lad but I have spoken to his agent subsequently, before the Under-21s were selected.

“His agent is Kenny Moyes who is David Moyes’ brother and he just said, ‘Let’s get this camp out of the way and we’ll come and meet you and have a chat’.

“[Moyes] said ‘Obviously England under-21s have made an approach’, and he just needed a bit of time to reflect and see what the situation was and wanted to speak to me after the camp, sit down and have a conversation.

“He said that he just needed time to breathe and see what the situation was.”

Kenny said he did not know Tom Cannon that well as he had only been in the Irish system for a short period [just over two years] but ‘he seems a good lad’.

“Obviously I’ve had a few conversations with him,” Kenny added. “But we’re happy with the strike force we have.”

In recent years, Ireland have seen English-born players like Jack Grealish and Declan Rice switch international allegiances after playing under-age football in the green jersey.


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