Tuesday 12 December 2017

City starlet Byrne chuffed to be back in green

Jack Byrne, right, in action for Manchester City
Jack Byrne, right, in action for Manchester City

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).

Irish Independent

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