Republic of Ireland prospect Jack Byrne has joined Oldham Athletic on a six-month loan from Wigan Athletic.
The 21-year-old has experienced an unfortunate fall from grace since returning to England from a loan spell with Dutch side Cambuur. The Dubliner who is still arguably one of Ireland’s best young talents thrived in Holland after being sent out for experience by Manchester City.
However, after returning to England, a loan spell to Blackburn saw only a handful of appearances before sealing a permanent move to the Latics on transfer deadline day in January. The move has yet to prove fruitful for Byrne who had been sent to train with the clubs youth side by Paul Cook.
Although he only managed a handful of appearances for Blackburn and Wigan last season, Byrne impressed in each outing, making his exclusion from the two clubs even more bizarre. It is unclear why he has featured so rarely but former Ireland international John Sheridan could be the man to get exciting talent back on track.
The technically gifted midfielder has also been dropped from the Ireland under-21 side. There were calls for inclusion in the senior set up just over a year ago and Byrne will hope to get back to the standards that earned his such plaudits. Ex-Ireland international Paul Green is a member of the Oldham squad and could offer his experience to the youngster.
Despite his difficulties, Byrne still has tremendous potential. He is one of the most naturally gifted to come out of Ireland in recent years and still has a lot of time to resurrect his career. The video below demonstrates the ability he has and can display in years to come.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we speak to Longford boss Neale Fenn about his start to managerial life and look ahead to this weekend’s LOI fixtures and Ireland internationals.