Jake O’Brien passes Liverpool test in far East with Crystal Palace

Youghal native who came through the Cork City Academy has the potential to reach the top level
Jake O’Brien passes Liverpool test in far East with Crystal Palace

Jake O'Brien of Republic of Ireland in action against Bosnia & Herzegovina. Picture: Fedja Krvavac/Sportsfile

YOUGHAL'S Jake O’Brien continued his preseason preparations with Crystal Palace by facing a star studded Liverpool team in Singapore on Friday afternoon.

The defender, who came through Cork City’s academy, was brought on midway through the second half and he was tasked with marking Mohammad Salah.

It was 2-0 by the time the 21-year-old came on and he played in the centre of defence for Patrick Vieira’s team.

The defender did not put a foot wrong on the pitch as he broke up play and sprayed passes to Palace’s midfield.

The 21-year-old also went toe to toe with Darwin Núñez and he kept the Uruguayan quiet at the Singapore National Stadium.

O’Brien has been training with the Eagles first team since the beginning of July and he has played in a number of friendlies.

He featured against Millwall earlier this month and he scored for Palace in a 5-4 victory.

The defender once impressed locally in the Munster Senior Cup and the FAI Cup with Cork City FC. O’Brien made nine appearances in the League of Ireland Premier Division between 2019 and 2020.

He originally joined Crystal Palace on loan and within weeks of making the move to London, he captained their U23s to promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1.

He then trained with the first team at Selhurst Park, and he learned from Champions League winner Gary Cahill.

Last January, O’Brien was sent on loan to Swindon Town in EFL League Two. He made 19 appearances for the team and the team missed out on promotion by three points.

A place in the play-offs was their consolation prize and Swindon were beaten on penalties by Port Vale.

INTERNATIONAL PEDIGREE

In addition to playing for Palace, O’Brien has featured for the Republic of Ireland U21s. The defender has played a big part in the team qualifying for the play-offs for the European Championships for the first time in their history.

Jim Crawford’s team came through a tough group containing Italy, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Luxembourg.

The team will now face Israel over two legs in September and the winning prize will be a place in next year’s finals tournament in Georgia and Romania.

Until then, O’Brien is with Crystal Palace and he will be fighting for a place in the first team. Vieira’s side have six more preseason games before they open the 2022/23 Premier League with a home game against Arsenal.

One of their warm-up matches is against Manchester United, who just beat Liverpool 4-0 in a friendly in Thailand.

O’Brien’s future with the first team is unclear as he may be loaned out to a lower league team so he can get more senior football experience.

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