Friday 15 December 2017

Byrne goes Dutch to fast-track his development

Jack Byrne could force his way into Ireland’s senior squad if he makes an impresssion in The Netherlands
Jack Byrne could force his way into Ireland’s senior squad if he makes an impresssion in The Netherlands

John Fallon

Manchester City prospect Jack Byrne is aiming to bring an Irish influence to his season-long loan with Dutch top-flight club SC Cambuur.

Just hours after being granted a three-year contract extension by Manual Pellegrini, the 19-year-old was on a flight to The Netherlands on Monday night to begin his first loan stint away from the Etihad.

Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane last week suggested Byrne was one of the few Irish youngsters capable of cutting it at Premier League level but he'll first have a season to prove himself in the Eredivisie.

Byrne becomes the third tyro hand-picked by City to join Cambuur. Both Sinan Bytyqi and Albert Rusnák enjoyed temporary stays there, the latter eventually securing a permanent move to FC Groningen, for whom he scored in the Dutch Cup final.

Facing the likes of Ajax and PSV Eindhoven will test Byrne, a teen long touted stretching back to his days as a schoolboy with St Kevin's Boys as possessing real potential.

City's youth team coach Patrick Vieira and former striker Niall Quinn both rate the teenager, so this is his opportunity to show he can step up to the senior stage.


"I hope that I'm able to bring a bit of bite and some Irish attitude to the team," said the Ireland U-21 midfielder, whose tenacious style on the pitch can be beneficial and costly in equal measure.

"I trained with the squad for the first time yesterday and was really impressed by the standard.

"Manchester City wanted to send me on loan to a club with a similar philosophy to them and I think Cambuur have that.

"The manager, Henk de Jong, has already shown real faith by handing me the No 10 shirt for the season. Hopefully I can repay him."

Meanwhile, City are facing an increasing battle to secure their top two midfield targets, with Wolfsburg vowing to keep Kevin De Bruyne and Paul Pogba waiting on the outcome of Barcelona's presidential elections before deciding on his future.

City, who are expected to lodge a third bid for Liverpool and England winger Raheem Sterling before departing for their pre-season tour of Australia next week, have spent months pursuing De Bruyne and Pogba.

They are prepared to meet Juve's £71m valuation of Pogba and will also pay in excess of £40m to sign De Bruyne, who has been a revelation in the Bundesliga since leaving Chelsea in an £18m move to Wolfsburg in January 2014.

However, Wolfsburg, who are backed Volkswagen, insist no one is leaving as they look forward to playing in the Champions League next season.

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport