Irish manager Mick McCarthy confirmed on Wednesday that Shamrock Rovers midfielder Jack Byrne will make his first start for the Boys in Green in their friendly against New Zealand.
Byrne has been in brilliant form for his club over the season, which has seen him win the 2019 PFAI Player of the Year award, the FAI Cup as well as his first cap for his country in their victory over Bulgaria last month.
The 23-year-old is one of three youngsters in the squad, along with U21 standouts Troy Parrott and Lee O’Connor, who the Irish boss confirmed will start Thursday’s game.
Byrne impressed in his one and only cap for Ireland when he came off the bench and made a significant impact, having a hand in two goals, but it wasn’t enough to see him included in the squad for the following game against Switzerland.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday as he confirmed the young trio’s inclusion, McCarthy highlighted what he wanted to see from Byrne in his first senior international start.
“It depends on what he thinks his own game is I guess,” he began.
“I want him to do what he does for Shamrock Rovers which is, he gets a hold of the ball, passes it, he creates chances, gets the ball moving, he recycles it for others and doesn’t give it away.
“His deliveries are good. His penalties are excellent I seen that in the cup final that was a great penalty. I want him to show that. It’s not Denmark it’s New Zealand, a big international game and New Zealand are treating it like a big international game and for Jack it will be a chance for him to showcase what he’s got, because he’s got lots.”
McCarthy also outlined that Byrne would be playing in a midfield three against New Zealand and pinpointed his development over the last year since his first involvement in the Irish setup.
“He’s done so so much better in the twelve months. Maybe I’ve influenced that a bit or Terry Connor has, in his all-round game. He’s got no problems with the ball and off the ball he’s done far better.”