Sheffield United academy boasts its latest international as Blackpool star makes bow for country

Sheffield United’s famed youth academy can now boast its latest international footballer.

Monday, 13th June 2022, 2:44 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 2:44 pm

The Shirecliffe talent factory has produced a number of players who have gone on to play for their countries in recent years, most notably Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker.

The likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have also pulled on the three lions after emerging from United’s academy – and another more recent graduate joined Stephen Quinn as a senior Republic of Ireland international recently.

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Blackpool’s CJ Hamilton made his international debut last week in Ireland’s Nations League defeat to Ukraine, at the age of 27. He has done it the hard way, bouncing back from being released by United via spells in the National League with Halifax Town and Gateshead.

Hamilton joined United at 16 after moving to Ireland as a youngster but didn’t make a professional appearance for the Blades. His story, having concentrated on Gaelic football and hurling in Waterford until the age of 12, is a remarkable one.

“I only got asked about being Irish back at the start of March before the last camp so to be here is a crazy experience,” Hamilton admitted before he made his debut.

Will Keane, CJ Hamilton and Shane Duffy of Republic of Ireland inspect the pitch (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

“It shows me as a player how far I’ve come. I never put myself out there for international football because I never thought I’d play football when I first left.

“It was a bit of a random one. So when I started playing football, I went under the radar because I was at a level where I didn’t think I’d ever get called up.”