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Another teenage Northern Ireland star earns professional move as Glentoran midfielder Jamie McDonnell joins Nottingham Forest

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Jamie McDonnell has joined the growing list of Northern Irish teenagers to move to England or Scotland.

Jamie McDonnell has joined the growing list of Northern Irish teenagers to move to England or Scotland.

William Cherry/Presseye

31st July 2019
 Statsports Supercup NI 2019
Co Antrim against Pumas Unam at Anderson park Coleraine.
Co Antrims Jamie McDonnell in action with Pumas Carranza Kleber

Mandatory Credit : Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

31st July 2019 Statsports Supercup NI 2019 Co Antrim against Pumas Unam at Anderson park Coleraine. Co Antrims Jamie McDonnell in action with Pumas Carranza Kleber Mandatory Credit : Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Jamie McDonnell has joined the growing list of Northern Irish teenagers to move to England or Scotland.

Jamie McDonnell has become the latest Northern Ireland teenager to secure a professional football contract.

The Glentoran midfielder has signed a three-year deal with Nottingham Forest, where he will join fellow Northern Ireland U17 international Dale Taylor.

McDonnell has captained both Northern Ireland Under 16s and County Antrim's junior side, who he helped to SuperCupNI Globe success last year.

He moved up to the U17 international side in October, starting against Italy and in a storming 7-0 win over Luxembourg.

McDonnell had previously represented the Rangers Academy and had also been attracting interest from Celtic and West Brom.

He is a product of the Irish FA's Club NI programme and joins a raft of young Northern Irish talent to move across the Irish Sea this summer.

First came Linfield duo Taylor and Charlie Allen's respective switches to Forest and Leeds.

Then Dungannon Swifts star Michael Forbes' move to West Ham was confirmed, shortly before news broke of his former clubmate Conor Bradley's impending three-year professional contract at Liverpool.

Then came McDonnell's Glentoran team-mate Charlie Lindsay, who has secured a three-year deal at Rangers.

Two other Glentoran stars, Caolan McBride and Matthew Carson, are also set to move to English Premier League clubs.

The IFA's Elite Performance Director Jim Magilton explained the work that goes on behind the scenes at ClubNI to help such promising players fulfil their potential.

"They've all been exposed at early ages to competition," he said.

"We've exposed them to these unbelievable opportunities in which they're playing against the top kids and top teams in Europe.

"When they walk into a club in England, they're assessed immediately and they only get one chance to make an impression.

"The exposure these guys are getting now through the scouts is another secret to this. They get used to it.

"There's a lot of good work going on at the local clubs, our work, the scouts and we have a product now that is competitive. Parents are preparing them too. They're building that resilience."

Belfast Telegraph