Sheffield United and Ireland defender Enda Stevens is confident that domestic call-up Jack Byrne will be a strong addition to the 23-man squad as the Boys in Green prepare for their games against Gibraltar and Georgia.
The Rovers midfielder was drafted into the squad to replace Callum O’Dowda, who suffered an injury playing for his club Bristol City, becoming the first domestic player to be included under Mick McCarthy.
McCarthy was impressed by Byrne during Shamrock Rovers’ victory over St Pat’s on Friday night, scoring an excellent goal as the Hoops picked up an important three points.
Byrne had been on the books at Manchester City but struggled at spells with Oldham and Kilmarnock after leaving the Premier League champions.
Speaking prior to Tuesday’s training session, another former Shamrock Rovers man, Enda Stevens outlined that he feels Byrne has his “hunger and desire” back playing in the League of Ireland.
“I think Jack just needed to go and play football. He was unfortunate at Oldham with how it ended in relegation because I think he was having quite a good season.
“He’s just got to build himself up and play a lot of games. everyone knows the quality that he has. He has that hunger back and the desire and hopefully he can do the business over here, he’s got the reward of a call-up and hopefully he can get himself back across (to England)”
The 22-year old is a promising midfield player whose confidence on the ball is key to the way he plays the game.
The step up to international level will no doubt be a large one for Byrne, but Stevens feels that he is the type of player who thrives on the bigger occasions.
“I think with Jack, the bigger the occasion the better he will probably play. He thrives on being the best player on the pitch, he has got an arrogance about him and a swagger about him on the ball. He loves it.”
Byrne is the first ever League of Ireland player Mick McCarthy has called up to a squad, having never included one during his first tenure.
Stevens outlined that he feels it’s a strong indication that the domestic league is continuing to get better year on year.
“I think the league is becoming a lot more professional now, like the setups at teams like Rovers they have more of that academy feel.
“It looks like there’s a great opportunity there you’ve got Cork, Dundalk looking really strong. It’s probably the best the league has looked in a long time and it’ll only continue to get better.”