Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke has outlined how playing with teammate Jack Byrne has added a lot to his game following the 26-year-old’s return to the club last summer.
Burke joined Byrne at the Hoops in July signing on a one-year loan deal from Championship side Preston North End, with the pair helping Rovers to their first FAI Cup in 32 years last season.
This campaign, Rovers have started a perfect four wins from four in the league but the inner-city Dublin duo key cogs in Stephen Bradley’s purring machine – despite Burke’s recent injury.
There are many similarities in the duo’s situation with both coming back to Rovers in a bid to revitalise their respective careers and Burke will no doubt be hoping he can emulate the success of Byrne, the 2019 PFAI Player of the Year, in his second spell at the club.
Speaking to Pundit Arena at the launch of eir Sports’ upcoming soccer coverage, Burke detailed the quality that he believes Byrne possesses and what playing alongside a player of his ilk adds to the striker’s game.
“I know what makes me tick, I know what drives me on and I know who I am as a person. I knew come the summer that Rovers were willing to bring me back.. I just wanted to get it done."
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) March 5, 2020
“It adds a lot. I’m playing a lot higher up the pitch and I know that when he gets on the ball he can find me, he can pick out passes no other person could pick out.
“To train with him every day you see the talent that he has and the ability that he has. He came back in a similar way as I did. He ends up finding his best form and everyone is seeing that now. He gets in the Ireland squad and does well for Ireland and he’s doing well for Shamrock Rovers.
“Obviously it’s been a great decision for him to come back home. He’s a brilliant player. He has the ability that people say an Irish player probably doesn’t have that sort of ability, he’s maybe more like a Spanish player or something like that. He has unbelievable ability and the skies the limit.”
Byrne has found himself rewarded with two senior caps for Ireland following his performances with Rovers – something Burke will be hoping to recapture having not featured for the Boys in Green since 2018.
The 26-year-old also outlined that he actually spoke to Byrne before he signed for Rovers, with Burke preaching the quality and benefits of the league having joined from Notts County for his first spell at the club in 2017.
“I was chatting to him before he came home,” said Burke.
“We have the same agent and he was like ‘speak to him, tell him your experience and how much you enjoyed it and how much it benefitted you’ and I did ring him and speak to him but it wasn’t ‘come back to Rovers’ it was always down to him so it was great to see him do it.
“He’s got the rewards for it and he’s got all the accolades after coming back. People see him as the best player in the league, he’s in the Irish squad, he won Player of the Year so God knows what’s around the corner for him. For Shamrock Rovers it was great to keep him.”
Graham Burke was speaking a today’s announcement of eir sports upcoming soccer coverage is Shelbourne FC manager Ian Morris, Bohemian FC manager Keith Long and Shamrock Rovers FC midfielder Graham Burke. eir sport will broadcast 15 SSE Airtricity League games in the coming months and will continue to broadcast all of the Republic of Ireland’s home UEFA U21 qualifiers.