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Dublin: 0°C Friday 22 January 2021

'Unless he is doing that he has no chance for me' - McCarthy on how Jack Byrne fits into his Irish team

Elsewhere, the manager says he is waiting for James McCarthy to get a move from Everton.

Jack Byrne.
Jack Byrne.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

JACK BYRNE ONCE again lit up a European night in Tallaght last night – for the second-straight Thursday, he was integral in a come-from-behind, 2-1 win for Shamrock Rovers. 

Whereas Byrne scored against SK Brann before setting up the winner last Thursday, last night he provided the assists for both of Rovers’ goals in their Europa League second qualifying round win over Apollon Limassol. 

Byrne’s return to Ireland has already earned him international recognition – he was in Mick McCarthy’s first international squad for games against Georgia and Gibraltar in March – without playing in either game – and missed out entirely on the most recent camp. 

Speaking to the media yesterday – before Rovers’ game will Apollon – McCarthy explained the role he sees Byrne playing in his Irish team, should he force his way back for September’s crunch qualifier with Switzerland and the decidedly-less-crunch friendly with Bulgaria. 

“Not personally because I’ve been away”, replied McCarthy when asked if he has been keeping tabs on Byrne, “but people have watched him and been very impressed with him. The last report I got, he was playing further forward instead of playing back between the two centre halves like he was the last time I saw him.

“And if he plays there then he is never ever ever going to have a chance of playing for me, getting the ball off the centre backs, being a quarterback and firing the ball all over. He has to be up behind the centre forward

By the way, I’m not trying to tell Stephen Bradley where to play him. I’m saying that any chance he has of playing for me is him playing further forward where he can find a final pass because he can see it. I mean finding passes into midfield players, somebody should be doing that to him so he can do the damage and he is a good finisher. Unless he is doing that he has no chance for me. I heard the last time he played he played further forward and he was excellent.

“So yes, I’ve had reports of him, I’m just saying how I think he sees he should be playing and how I want him playing.” 

Byrne dropped deep occasionally against Apollon last night, but generally played an advanced role, with only Dan Carr and occasionally Ronan Finn ahead of him. 

Elsewhere, McCarthy confirmed he hopes James McCarthy gets a move from Everton this close season. The midfielder has yet to be included in either of McCarthy’s squads, and has made a single substitute appearance for Everton since recovering from a broken leg in January. 

Seamus Coleman texted McCarthy after the June win over Gibraltar encouraging his clubmate to get match-fit and contribute to the Irish squad, and the manager has been in contact lately, too. 

“I’d like to see him playing in September”, said Mick.

“You all probably know that there are some stories that he might be moving to Crystal Palace sooner rather than later. So he should be in a place to get a game for the first game of the season. It doesn’t matter, he can go and sign for whoever he wants, he can sign for Oxford and if he’s in the team he has a better chance than if he’s on the bench for Crystal Palace.

“He has done the pre-season and I think he waiting to get his move and so am I.” 

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Mick McCarthy speaks to the media Mick McCarthy holds court with reporters at Trim Celtic AFC, part of the FAI's Festival of Football. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

One player who has got a move is Callum Robinson, who has swapped Preston for Sheffield United, now of the Premier League. 

“I’m delighted.

“They have been scouting him for a long time so they know about him, of course. Chris [Wilder] will have watched him and they will know all those Championship players like the back of their hand, like we did when we were in the Championship. 

“I’m delighted he got his move but then I don’t want players at Premier League clubs, I want players playing at football clubs, preferably in the Premier League.

“But suddenly I’ve got Didsy [McGoldrick] and him now. They are playing two strikers, Chris might surprise us all, play 3-4-3 or something, he’ll do something and let’s hope that they will all play.

McCarthy says regular Premier League football can improve Robinson. 

“Oh bundles I think, in terms of self-belief and getting the move, how he will feel about himself. He impressed us, he impressed me certainly; he always did when we played against him, seeing him in the Championship.

“He’s got that pace, he’s got good ability; he’s got the pace and power to cope with the Premier League; I think he’ll run away from people as well and he is a great personality…if he takes that smile and enjoys it all as much as he did when he was here with us he’ll be a real asset for Sheffield United.

“I’m delighted they got him, I think he has a goal in him as well.” 

McCarthy also confirmed Damien Duff, currently serving as an assistant coach at Celtic, consulted him over their signing of Luca Connell. 

Away from football, one reporter was given short shrift when the name of John Delaney was raised. 

“I will answer that. You know full well, and if you’re being mischievous, I’m not allowed have any contact with him or he I, so that’s your answer. If you ask any more about it you’re going to get an even worse stare.

“I have answered you and if you want to talk about football, fine, if not…” 

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