Ireland have a bright future with Derby County’s Jason Knight, Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher, Tottenham’s Troy Parrott and Celtic’s Jonathan Afolabi.

Phillip Cocu is not the only manager who has been won over by Jason Knight this season.

Speaking to the Irish Sun, Republic of Ireland U21 coach Stephen Kenny has taken the time to praise a Derby County midfielder who has come on leaps and bounds this season alone.

At just 18, Knight has been perhaps the biggest positive to come out of Cocu’s difficult start to life at Pride Park, starting five out of six Championship games and looking full of confidence against even the most experienced of opposition.

Knight is used to playing against players far older than he is and that trend is set to continue with Kenny mulling over whether to hand the teenager his fourth cap for the U21s against Armenia tonight.

“Jason Knight has had a really good start at Derby — he has really pushed on from the summer again,” said the former Dundalk manager.

“He is very quick around the park, doing well and is really giving you food for thought with the selection.”

New Celtic signing Jonathan Afolabi and Tottenham Hotspur’s striking sensation Troy Parrott are also in line to feature for the Republic of Ireland in Armenia while Caoimhin Kelleher is expected to start between the sticks.

Highly-rated at Liverpool, Kelleher is also very well respected within his international camp it seems.

“Caoimhín Kelleher and the back four have been very consistent. We have good competition in midfield,” Kenny adds.

With Knight, Kelleher, Afolabi and Parrott all in their ranks, the Republic of Ireland have a lot to look forward to in the years to come.

In other news, Agent suggests Spurs offer will arrive for £22m ace after Burnley saw bid rejected