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‘He deserves to be in the squad’ – Stephen Kenny on Jack Byrne’s return to Ireland setup

Jack Byrne Ireland

Jack Byrne is back in the Ireland squad after an impressive run of games.

While fans weren’t allowed into Tallaght Stadium to watch the recent Europa League tie between Shamrock Rovers and AC Milan, Ireland manager Stephen Kenny was certainly watching and Jack Byrne’s performance against the Italian giants definitely caught his eye.

Since returning to the League of Ireland, the Dubliner has been one of the best players in the league with his technical ability on the ball making him stand out as he won the FAI Cup, PFAI Players’ Player of the Year and was named in the team of the year.

In March 2019, Byrne was called into the Republic of Ireland squad for the matches against Gibraltar and Georgia. He was recalled to the national team in August 2019, making his international debut in a 3-1 win over Bulgaria – he also set up a goal in that game too.

Jack Byrne Ireland

In terms of his most recent form, Byrne is playing really well and scored twice in Rovers’ 4-0 demolition of Dundalk at Oriel Park – a win that saw The Hoops stretch their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League to eight points with five games remaining.

Speaking at an FAI press conference, Kenny hailed Jack Byrne’s form and spoke about the decision to bring him back into the Ireland squad.

“I’ve been consistent in my selection and we’ve increased the squad form 23 to 25 because we’ve three games this time. I think Jack has played quite well, he did well against AC Milan in the Europa League game. Obviously, he followed that up with two goals at the weekend, so he’s in the squad on merit and he deserves to be in the squad.

“He’s a very talented player with a good range of passing so he is in the squad on merit. He’s different and has that range of passing which is very interesting and very effective and obviously, he has good vision.”

“I spoke to his manager and spoke to Jack after the last squad announcement. I’ve been able to attend some of his games and he’s been good to see. I’m much happier now with the fitness and sharpness of the overall squad.

“For example, within the last window, Shane Duffy had only played one league game for Brighton in nine months. He went from January to September having played only one game.

“We had a lot of players that hadn’t played much football and now the majority of players are playing every week and playing a lot of games. That’s a much better situation going into the game against Slovakia,” said Kenny.

Jack Byrne Ireland

After a draw in Bulgaria and a defeat to Finland, Ireland will be desperate for victory against Slovakia on Thursday.

After the game in Bratislava, the boys in green will be looking to improve their Nations League standing when they face Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, October 11. Kenny’s side will end the international window with a game away to Finland on October 14.

The Ireland squad will assemble in Dublin on Sunday and train at the FAI’s National Training Centre in Abbotstown before flying to Slovakia on Tuesday. It’s good to see that Jack Byrne will be a part of it.

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