A familiar face helped with Ireland's U17 captain Cathal Heffernan's move to AC Milan

A familiar face helped with Ireland's U17 captain Cathal Heffernan's move to AC Milan


AC MILAN'S newest Irish recruit Cathal Heffernan has thanked one of Ireland's former players for helping him acquire a move to Serie A giants AC Milan. 

Heffernan said thanks a Mil’ to Stephen Ireland for his services. The Cork City defender said that the move would not have happened unless the former Ireland and Manchester City midfielder got involved.

The pair have worked together for two years and headed to Milan last week on Thursday for contract talks.

Heffernan is only 16 and moved to the San Siro on loan with the option of a permanent deal coming down the line if the move goes well.

Speaking to the Irish star, Heffernan said:

“When I met Stephen, when I was 14, the work he put in behind the scenes, not just with me but with all his players, was outstanding.

“He focuses on you getting better as a player and a person.

“He is a really good person and he knows the ins and outs of the game. He always wants you to get better.

“I am so grateful to have him. It’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

“People don’t see the work he puts in behind the scenes — all the work he has to do, all the phone calls, it’s all done behind the scenes.

“And he wants nothing for it. I can’t thank him enough. I texted him there saying I’m so grateful to have you and thanks so much, and he was like, ‘ah you’re welcome boy’.

“He is honestly a great person.”

It will be tough to break into Milan's team, but the Cork teenager is confident of his ability and admitted he isn't afraid to knock on Paolo Maldini’s door and ask for help if he needs it from one of football's best ever defenders.

Maldini is now Milan's technical director and works with all the club’s defenders.

Heffernan said: “

To have someone like that looking over you; even if you have a problem, if you can get to him for advice, that’s the environment you want to be in.”

Last year Kevin Zefi joined Inter Milan from Shamrock Rovers and now with Heffernan's move to rivals AC, we could see the Ireland teammates line out in a derby for both sides.