IRELAND U21 defender Eiran Cashin has had a turbulent time in professional football since making his debut with Derby in December 2o21.
Cashin's boyhood club were awarded a 12-point reduction in the Championship for money troubles, and were relegated after a long hard season in the same year.
The Rams were then led by Wayne Rooney before he departed for the States with DC United.
Cashin, you could say was thrown into the lion's pit in the most testing periods in Derby's history, but it was Rooney's decision to give the Irish defender a chance in the second division that ignited his career.
Rooney speaking in Feburary after the Rams' 1-0 home victory over Peterborough described tbe young Irishman as 'outstanding'
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) September 15, 2022
'I had trust in Cash coming in, and he was outstanding.'
"I have seen an improvement in him this season. It is hard to gauge from U23s football but there are details you look at. I then bring the players up for a few weeks to train with us and see how they settle in with that, and the lads have been outstanding.'
Cashin went onto play almost 20 times for the Rams. He was asked about Rooney impacts during his time at the club, describing it as surreal.
He also praised his former manager as a 'nice guy'.
"He was a nice guy, he was a good coach. Obviously, he now [has] a different challenge and we have our own challenge to look at," Cashin.
"He was a nice guy and the stuff he’s done in football speaks for itself."
"I did block one of his shots one day [in training], he probably won't admit it. That’s my claim to fame."
However, Cashin's full concentration is on the two legged play-off with Israel this month.
Jim Crawford's side play Israel on the 23rd this month, and travel to Tel Aviv on the 27th. A win for the young Irish side will send them to next year’s Euro U21 finals in Romania and Georgia.
Cashin feels he is ready for the challenge ahead.
We know they’re a good team and we know they’ll be physical.
"We’ll do a lot of analysis, and I’m sure the coaches have already done the analysis and they’ll be passing that onto us, so we know what we’re coming up against.
"I’m willing to fight with anyone, it doesn’t really matter who it is I’ll give it a good shot."
"We’ve just got to make sure we win the first game and win the second game and then we’ll be fine," he added.
"There's a chance of making history, that's how we see it." - Ireland U21 defender Eiran Cashin says the squad are feeling excited rather than under pressure ahead of Friday's Euro2023 play-off | Live on @RTE2 and @RTEPlayer pic.twitter.com/rvhEvH3Rgr
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 20, 2022
Republic of Ireland Under-21 Squad
Goalkeepers, Brian Maher (Derry City), Luke McNicholas (Sligo Rovers) David Odumosu,(St. Patrick’s Athletic)
Defenders: Eiran Cashin (Derby County), Festy Ebosele (Udinese), Andy Lyons (Shamrock Rovers), Jake O’Brien (RWD Molenbeek, on loan from Crystal Palace), Lee O’Connor (Tranmere Rovers), Joe Redmond (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Sean Roughan (Lincoln City) Anselmo Garcia MacNulty (NAC Breda)
Midfielders: Finn Azaz (Plymouth Argyle, on loan from Aston Villa), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Dawson Devoy (MK Dons), Joe Hodge (Wolves), Will Smallbone (Stoke City, on loan from Southampton), Ross Tierney (Motherwell) Adam O’Reilly (St. Patrick’s Athletic)
Forwards: Aaron Connolly (Venezia, on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion), Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion), Joshua ‘JJ’ Kayode (MK Dons, on loan from Rotherham United), Ollie O’Neill (Fulham), Mipo Odubeko (Port Vale, on loan from West Ham United), Tyreik Wright (Bradford City, on loan from Aston Villa) Dara Costelloe (Burnley)
UEFA European Under-21 Championship Play-Offs (all times are Irish time)
Friday, September 23 | Ireland U21 v Israel U21, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin, KO 7pm
Tuesday, September 27 | Israel U21 v Ireland U21, Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel KO 7pm