City starlet Byrne chuffed to be back in green
After having his international career controversially halted at U-19 level, Manchester City's Jack Byrne is looking to round off a hectic season at the Etihad by making his Ireland U-21 debut against Qatar in Aachen this evening.
The Dubliner – the youngest member in Noel King's experimental squad – is set for an exciting future based upon the esteem in which he is held by Manuel Pellegrini and Patrick Vieira.
City's first-team manager sanctioned a three-year professional contract for the midfielder, who turned 18 last month, after inviting him to train with the club's galaxy of stars earlier in the season.
Vieira, meanwhile, fast-tracked Byrne into his U-21 squad, affording him a role in the club's UEFA Youth Champions League campaign that included involvement in the 6-0 whitewash of Bayern Munich.
His international career didn't mirror the strides he has made at club level and matters looked grim when Ireland U-19 manager Paul Doolin culled the playmaker after the first games of the seasons against Norway.
Byrne had given up on reactivating his career in the Irish jersey so soon until a shock call came from King.
"I was gutted about what happened with the U-19s, especially as I never given any reason for being dropped," Byrne said last night.
"Noel King has been brilliant so far, just telling me go out and express myself against Qatar.
"It's a big chance for a lot of us newcomers and I intend to make the most of it."
IRELAND (probable) – I Lawlor (Man City): B Lewis (Aston Villa), P Sweeney (Reading), K Feely (Charlton), J Connors (Dagneham); D Lenihan (Blackburn Rvs), J Byrne (Man City); K McEvoy (Tottenham), M Drennan (Aston Villa), W Hayhurst (Preston); C Wilkinson (Bolton Wds).