Irish manager Mick McCarthy singled Shamrock Rovers midfielder Jack Byrne out for praise following his first international cap in their 3-1 win over Bulgaria.
Byrne came off the bench in the second half of the game and looked comfortable, finding his range of passing and playing a big part in both Kevin Long and James Collins’ goals as Ireland dominated the last twenty minutes.
The 23-year-old will feel that he has done his chances of featuring for Ireland in the three remaining Euro 2020 qualifiers the world of good after impressing in a role just off the front.
Speaking after the friendly victory at the Aviva Stadium, McCarthy outlined that the number ten role is the position he sees Byrne occupying and praised his effectiveness higher up the field joking that he would’ve “kicked him up the bum” if he saw the former Manchester City man picking the ball up deeper.
“He’s got that position to play, up behind James (Collins). I told him, if I see you collecting it between the two centre-halves, I’m going to kick him up the bum. And he knows that, and I’m saying that with a glint in my eye, it’s a bit of a joke.
“But he’s so effective when he’s up the pitch, he’s got goals in him and he started threading balls.
“But let’s just put it in perspective because, would he be different if he was up against those big Swiss midfield players running off him? Absolutely. It’s horses for courses, and we needed to create something, he was excellent.”
Byrne was the one player left out of the squad last Thursday for the draw with Switzerland but his performance on Tuesday night will surely be a huge boost to his confidence.
Since his arrival in the League of Ireland the talented midfielder has been one of the league’s stand out players and unquestionably deserved his chance to impress against Bulgaria.
McCarthy continued on Byrne outlining that he has made a very big impact since he’s been in the squad and reiterated that the Rovers man has excellent qualities on the ball.
“Jack has made a real impression. He made an impression in training. That’s where he has to play he has to play further forward because I know I can trust him with the ball, I know I can find the pass.
“I keep saying there’s a complete difference if you’re playing out of midfield and if we’re being dominated with the ball that’s a completely different thing.”