Interview | Ryan Johansson on his desire to play for Ireland
In an exclusive interview with FAITV, Ryan, who previously played twice for Ireland as part of a Under-19 squad in 2018, says being an Irish international is ‘where his heart wanted to go’.
Ryan, who is currently with Sevilla Atletico, the B team of La Liga highflyers Sevilla, was born in Luxembourg but qualifies for Sweden through his father and Ireland through his mother.
He has played for the country of his birth as well as Ireland and Sweden at underage level but had been previously denied the chance to switch his future eligibility to Ireland in 2019.
However a change in FIFA rulings last year paved the way for the 20-year-old midfielder to appeal that decision and last week FIFA confirmed to the Football Association of Ireland that Ryan is now eligible to commit his international future to Ireland.
Ryan Johansson on being eligible for Ireland
“It feels amazing. It was quite the long wait but definitely worth it.
"I honestly don’t think it has sunk in yet.
"I think playing with the team and putting the shirt on will definitely be nerve wracking but exciting. Now I’m concentrating on the next time I can play with the team.”
On his reasons for declaring for Ireland
“There were multiple reasons and it was never easy to turn down countries I love – and I’m very patriotic for all three countries I am eligible for – but I do feel more attached to Ireland.
“I have a lot of family there, my mother is Irish but also football was an important factor brought into the decision. Also the professionalism of the Irish coaches and how they handled everything as well as the staff from the FAI for setting me up to be able to play for Ireland.
“Playing with Ireland in the Under-19s was an amazing experience. I think I was welcomed very well into the team through the coaches and the players – so multiple reasons that made me make the decision
“But once it came down to it and once my parents asked me the questions, ‘who do you really want to play for?’ and ‘what is your final decision?’, it was a no brainer in a sense of choosing Ireland.
“That’s where my heart wanted to go.”
On his hopes and ambitions in an Ireland jersey
“Like with most national teams, I want to play in the European Championships and the World Cup.
"I think anything is possible with the talent coming through with Ireland right now. You see a lot of young players playing in the first team and I think that’s a big advantage for Ireland moving forward.
“I hope, and I think, that Ireland can do amazing things with football. Hopefully some trophies and some silverware – that’s the ultimate goal."
The full interview can be viewed on the FAI's official YouTube account here