Preston North End and West Ham United are involved in a transfer tussle for midfielder Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh, with Deepdale Digest reporting that both clubs have taken the youngster on trial in recent weeks.
A Cork City youngster, both the Lilywhites and the Hammers have been running the rule over the Ireland under-15s international as they both weigh up whether to take a chance on the youngster by offering him a contract.
Of course Preston have a rich history of plucking players from Irish shores, with the likes of Alan Browne, Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan, Kevin O’Connor, Seani Maguire, Graham Burke and Harry Nevin all joining the club in recent seasons.
Ireland under 15 and @CorkCityFC player Joe O'Brien – Whitmarsh is on trial in England at the moment. The midfielder spent last week with Preston and he was on fire for West Ham yesterday, scoring 4 goals against Ipswich in a youth game. @CorkCityFCAcad @integsportsmgmt pic.twitter.com/RF7XRyyCQs
— Rep of Ireland Player Tracker (@RepTracker) April 4, 2021
The report goes on to state that O’Brien-Whitmarsh spent last week on trial with North End in a bid to earn a deal, however it now appears that he could be potentially closer to joining West Ham after notching four goals in one game for the club’s youth side on Saturday against Ipswich Town.
If you don’t get at least 15/20 on this Preston North End midfielder quiz, can you really call yourself a Lilywhites fan?
It now appears that there will be a two horse race for the player who is still on the books of his parent club Cork for the time being.
It is no surprise that English clubs and more specifically North End are looking to raid the Irish league for young talent once more, with it proving to be a real pool for players that can be taken on the cheap.
O’Brien-Whitmarsh is the latest of those talents to attract interest from afar and it has given a player who is still at under-15 level a real choice to make over his career path.
West Ham has a well documented approach to developing young players, whilst Preston have proven that they will give youth a chance to impress when they deem it necessary.
I do feel that the player will be swayed towards the Premier League side but ultimately his next move will unsurprisingly be determined by what development pathway suits him and his family best.