Ex-Ireland U21 footballer on why he would urge more Irish players to "look more towards the continent"

Padraig Amond went from Sligo Rovers to Portugal in 2010 and speaks to Team 33 about highs and challenges

Padraig Amond, Ireland, Portugal, Pacos de Ferreira

Padraig Amond ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

A few weeks ago on Team 33, we looked back on Robbie Keane's all-too-brief spell at Inter Milan and why things did not work out.

Unfortunately, playing on the continent is something too few players from these shores have undertaken in recent years.

However, there are some notable exceptions like Steve Finnan who went to Espanyol, Ian Harte at fellow La Liga side Levante and Liam Lawrence who spent time in Greece with PAOK. Manchester City's Jack Byrne also recently spoke to Off The Ball about his current loan deal in the Netherlands. 

Another player who was brave enough to take the plunge was Padraig Amond, who spent a season at Portuguese top flight side Pacos de Ferreira playing against the likes of Porto and Benfica after signing from Sligo Rovers in Autumn 2010.

This week, the Carlow native and former Ireland under-21 forward was kind enough to join us on this week's Team 33 to tell us about that experience from how he was spotted by Pacos to the challenges of the language, the behind-the-scenes interactions between native and foreign team-mates and also just how different the training methods are for players more accustomed to the Irish or British way.

You can listen to the full interview via the podcast player below or download on iTunes:

And he also explained why he thinks more Irish players should try their hand in a continental league rather than always taking the traditional route to England.

"I think Irish players need to look more towards the continent because a lot of players get lost in the system in England. It's great when they go over at 16-17 and working your way through the youth teams and into the first team squads, but it doesn't happen for everyone. You see how long it took the likes of Wes Hoolahan to establish himself as a Premier League footballer. Even now, they're saying he's too small. But if he was Spanish or Portuguese, the team would be built around him and I'm sure that there are other players that have been lost through the system," said Amond, who also added that he had also spoken to Pacos' sporting director about the prospect of signing another former Sligo Rovers star during his time in Portugal.

Now at Grimbsy Town of the English National League (formerly known as the Football Conference), Amond also spoke to us about the way Jamie Vardy's rise has been inspiring players in non-league.