Off The Ball
Off The Ball

22.23 18 Nov 2015


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It's often said that there is a dearth of young Irish talent coming through at present.

But one player that there is considerable buzz around is Ireland U21 international Jack Byrne.

The 19-year-old Manchester City midfielder, who is continuing his development on loan at Dutch top flight side SC Cambuur, joined us on Off The Ball tonight to talk about how he is settling into a new football culture and much more. 

"An inner-city boy from Dublin to go to Manchester, it wasn't really that much difference. Dublin and Manchester are big cities and this city (Leeuwarden) is completely different. Holland is completely different to anything I was used to but I'm playing big games and I'm playing in front of sell-out crowds and its great. You have to take that challenge on," said Byrne, who describes his own game as "technical footballer with a bit of passion" and has already played against the likes of PSV Eindhoven and FC Twente this season as he makes the step up to senior football.

Like many prospective Irish footballers, Byrne made the move to the UK in his mid-teens - aged 15 in his case - and he spoke about how he deals with the homesickness element: "You don't go and cry in your room like you would when you were 15. You take it on a different level. You might stay at the training ground a little bit longer and just keep yourself busy."

Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, who will manage New York City FC, served as his head coach in the Man City youth ranks and Byrne says the France World Cup winner helped him on the mental side of the game.

"I would be one of these players that play on passion and I'd be up tight if I did give the ball away. But he's taught me that you're going to make mistakes, you're not going to have the perfect game - maybe once in your career. He taught me not to get too worked up about things and just always try and be positive around the players and try and be a leader. I think that's what his best attributes were. He's such a good leader and even as a coach, the young players, we all wanted to do so well for him because what he's achieved in the game speaks for itself and he is such a good leader."    

And he spoke of his dream of wearing the green shirt of Ireland at international level.

"I know I have a lot of hard work to put in to be even considered for that [Euro 2016] squad. I've only played seven first team games. But I know [Martin] O'Neill will be looking at players. I hope he will come and watch one of my games. I just hope I'm in that category because it is every young kid's dream to play for their country. But whether that comes in one month or five years, I'll just make sure I'm ready when that comes."    

Listen to the full interview on the Football Show podcast.

 


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