Jack Byrne says he welcomed Mick McCarthy’s recent forthright observations about what the Shamrock Rovers playmaker needs to do to break into the manager’s Ireland squad.
While McCarthy is set to name his latest panel today, Byrne is firmly focused on preparing for tonight’s Premier Division game away to Derry City, after yesterday being named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month for July.
Byrne was called into the Ireland squad for the opening Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia but missed out on the last two games against Denmark and Gibraltar. And just a few weeks ago, McCarthy made very clear what he needs to see from the 23-year-old if he is to regain a place in the international set-up.
“The last report I got he was playing further forward instead of playing back between the two centre-halves like he was the last time I saw him,” the manager said.
“I’m not trying to tell Stephen Bradley where to play him. I’m saying that any chance he has of playing for me is him playing further forward where he can find a final pass because he can see it. And he can finish too.”
Asked about McCarthy’s view, Byrne said: “I didn’t see it as a negative, I saw it as somebody trying to help me. It was the way he saw me as being most effective. I was very grateful he was even talking about me in that sense. It shows I am on the right path.
“It’s different for every team and every game, because some manager might want you to play a little bit deeper for a certain game and he might want you to push up for another game. But I think Mick said he wanted to see me play as a number 10 and I love playing number 10. So, yeah, whatever he says. If he was the manager and I was in the team, whatever he says, I’d do.
“Whether he’s telling me to play deeper or higher or whether he’s telling me to play in goals, you’ve got to do it because he’s the manager.
On his prospects for a fresh Ireland call-up, Byrne said: “I understand I’m at Shamrock Rovers and there are other players there that are in Premier League clubs, Championship clubs, probably doing well at the moment.
“Obviously everyone wants to be in an Ireland squad. Everyone in the league would want to be in an Ireland squad and everyone who’s not in the league would want to be in an Ireland squad.”
Coinciding with a visit to Galway later today for the opening of the new all-weather facility at Salthill Devon FC, McCarthy will name his provisional squad for the Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Switzerland on September 5 and the friendly game, also at the Aviva Stadium, against Bulgaria on September 10.