Monday 11 December 2017

Byrne says McClean advice influenced his decision to move to Wigan

Jack Byrne's stock rose last year when he shone in Holland on a loan spell with Cambuur
Jack Byrne's stock rose last year when he shone in Holland on a loan spell with Cambuur
Former Wigan player James McClean. Photo: PA
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

New Wigan recruit Jack Byrne sought the advice of their former player James McClean before signing for the Championship club late on Tuesday night.

The highly-regarded Irish U-21 international has opted to leave Manchester City on a full-time basis and sign a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Latics in order to kick-start his career.

Byrne's stock rose last year when he shone in Holland on a loan spell with Cambuur but a temporary switch to Blackburn for this season turned out to be a major disappointment and he returned to City at Christmas time.

Wigan made a move to bring him on board and Byrne spoke with McClean who used a spell at the DW Stadium to kick-start his career again following a disappointing period.

"I know James McClean very well and I spoke to him before coming here," said the Dubliner. "He couldn't speak highly enough of the club and he gave me a good feel when I spoke to him.

"I would have liked to have played a little bit more at Blackburn but circumstances didn't allow that. I'm looking forward to kicking on with Wigan now though.

"I haven't played much recently with the window and everything, but I'm fit and I'm raring to go."

Wigan are immersed in a battle with the drop and their manager Warren Joyce, a one-time youth coach at Manchester United, made a late move to bring in Byrne.

The newcomer feels that he will be suited by the style of play.

"I'm a small, technical player who likes to get on the ball, but I'll never shy away from the ball and I'll always look to find a pass be that in the first minute or the last," said the 20-year-old.

The confident Byrne was called in to train with the Ireland senior squad last March on account of his performances in Holland and this switch gives him the opportunity to prove himself in the English scene.

Meanwhile, Everton manager Ronald Koeman revealed that the Toffees turned down a £15m bid from Newcastle for James McCarthy.

The Dutchman has suggested that the Glaswegian still has a future at the club despite the arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin and competition for midfield places which has led to him falling behind Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye in the pecking order. Darron Gibson was allowed to leave for Sunderland because he was way down the list.

McCarthy was also caught in a club v country debate earlier this season and, in delivering an optimistic take on the 26-year-old's prospects, Koeman indicated that issues over fitness were holding the player back in his eyes.

"I see him having a long-term future here because I think he is a really good player and those players we need for the future of Everton," said Koeman.

"We need competition in the midfield and that is what I mentioned to the board of the club. There is no possibility for one of the midfielders to go - yes for Darron Gibson, because there was too much competition for him, but not for James.

"My attitude hasn't changed towards him. He's really on a good fitness level and that makes James a better player than I saw in the beginning.

"At the beginning he was not fit, he had his problems with his hamstring. I am really pleased with his quality and how he is involved in the team."

Irish Independent

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