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'Irish Aaron Lennon' catches the eye at QPR





PREMIER League side QPR, who are closing in on a deal to sign highly-rated Galway United man Ryan Manning, have high hopes for Ireland U19 cap Jake Mulraney.

Dubliner Mulraney secured a move to QPR on an 18-month deal earlier this week after he severed his ties with Nottingham Forest, and while the teenager will have to bide his time in QPR's U21/reserve team squad, the staff there feel they have pulled off a coup by signing him.

"He has got a lot of ability and when I heard Forest were letting him go I was very keen to bring him to QPR. I stuck my neck out on this one," says Steve Gallen, the former Ireland U21 cap who is in charge of QPR's U21 side.

"He is a left-footed winger who plays on the right. He has a bit of Aaron Lennon about him in his style of play. He is small with explosive pace, great speed - real acceleration. He is a typical winger who likes to get behind the full-back and get crosses in.

"He played for Forest last season against us, it was the first game we lost and it was because of him. He scored the winning goal and was the best player on the pitch. I made it my business to have a chat with him after the game.

"We have put him in digs and like a lot of Irish people, he has some family over here. I think he has some cousins in London. He is a nice lad, humble. He isn't walking around at 18 like he has made it," added Gallen, capped four times at U21 level by Ireland between 1993 and 1994.

Current U19 cap Manning impressed in Galway FC's feat of winning promotion to the Premier Division for next season, but boss Tommy Dunne has accepted that the forward is unlikely to still be at Eamon Deacy Park next season.

Manning has already attracted interest from Tottenham and QPR, with Ipswich Town also keeping tabs on the youngster in case that proposed move to the Premier League does not come off but QPR are favourites to win the race for Manning.