Sunday 20 October 2019

Bradley backs talented Byrne to rebuild career with Shamrock Rovers after turbulent spell

Jack Byrne shows his new colours after deciding to quit Kilmarnock and sign for Shamrock Rovers
Jack Byrne shows his new colours after deciding to quit Kilmarnock and sign for Shamrock Rovers
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Viewed by many as the most talented player of his Irish generation, Jack Byrne is coming home in a bid to get his career back on track again.

The 22-year-old has signed with Shamrock Rovers after reaching an agreement with Kilmarnock to terminate his contract by mutual agreement.

Byrne had played just five times for the Scottish Premier League leaders since his summer move, with the club saying that personal and family reasons and the midfielder's desire to go back to Ireland fuelled the settlement.

The Dubliner admitted that his switch to Tallaght has been in the offing for a few weeks and he views it as an opportunity to play football regularly and start making the headlines for the right reasons.

It's been a difficult couple of years for Byrne since his profile soared during a loan move from Manchester City to Dutch side Cambuur.

Byrne played so well during his stint in Holland that he was invited to train with Martin O'Neill's senior squad and even fancied his chances of making a late run for the Euro 2016 squad.

O'Neill made several references to the playmaker's confidence when asked about him subsequently and it's fair to say that the St Kevin's Boys product has struggled to match the high standards he set for himself.

The hype was also created by high-profile endorsements, with former Man City development coach Patrick Vieira likening Byrne to Roy Keane, although his actual style of play drew comparisons with Paul Scholes.

Byrne came back from Holland with ambitions of a breakthrough at City but a loan to Blackburn did not work out and that led to a full-time move to Wigan. He found it hard to get a look-in there and joined Oldham on loan 14 months ago, before making the switch permanent at the start of this year.

He was unable to keep them in League One even though some of his individual performances won praise - his relationship with manager Richie Wellens blew hot and cold and he was then completely frozen out by his replacement Frankie Bunn during the summer.

Disciplinary problems were cited as the reason and that led to a parting of ways. Kilmarnock made the move then but Byrne was unable to get into Steve Clarke's side, with Irish duo Gary Dicker and Alan Power ahead of him.

The prospect of a return to Dublin was floated and Byrne - who had previously trained with Rovers to keep fit - has picked Tallaght ahead of options in the English lower leagues.

He believes it's the right step with a view to following the example of players such as Sean Maguire and Graham Burke who used the League of Ireland to propel them back to a higher level across the water.

"Jack has an unbelievable amount of ability," said Rovers boss Stephen Bradley. "He's a player who had three or four offers in England and financially they were a lot more rewarding for Jack to go there.

"I think it shows what sort of mindset he has and the hunger he has to show people how good he is... and the reason why he got called up to the Ireland squad a couple of years back. We believe that Jack has the ability to go and do that again."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing - RWC Daily: End of an era as Ireland say sayonara to World Cup

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport