Perth confident Byrne's chance...

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Perth confident Byrne's chance will come but admits it's "massive step up"


Vinny Perth believes that it is only a matter of time before Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny hands Jack Byrne his third international cap.

Perth knows Kenny inside out having worked as his assistant manager for five years at Dundalk, during which time the club won four Premier Division titles, two FAI Cups and three League Cups while also reaching the UEFA Europa League group stages.

Following Kenny's departure, Perth won the league title as manager of the Lilywhites in 2019 which was also Byrne's first season playing for Shamrock Rovers and the former Dundalk boss is a huge fan of the midfield maestro from Dublin city.

"There's no doubt, Jack Byrne is a phenomenal player," Perth told Off The Ball.

"A little bit like Wes Hoolahan, he's somebody who can create things from that number ten position. We lack someone to pick out the passes that Jack has in his locker, of that there's no doubt.

"He hasn't played a lot of football because of the Covid issue. He did play the last two games for Shamrock Rovers. He was just okay, by his normal high standards but he's going to be there or thereabouts.

"I think we might see him in this [international window] but I think we'll have a two-man midfield, it could be Molumby and Hourihane, it could be Hendrick, Hourihane. All that stuff will be debated. I think we might see Alan Browne being more of a number ten."

Unfortunately Byrne, who was capped in two friendly internationals under Mick McCarthy, will have to wait until after Thursday's friendly with England to get his chance to feature in this international window due to the fact that the last round of Premier Division matches take place on Monday night.

The Boys in Green will take on Wales in Cardiff on Sunday in the penultimate match of the current UEFA Nations League campaign before hosting Bulgaria in Dublin three days later.

Stephen Kenny, Vinny Perth, Dundalk, Dundalk Manager Stephen Kenny and assistant manager Vinny Perth celebrate with the FAI Cup, November 2018 - ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Many former internationals have expressed concerns in the past with regard to a player from the domestic league being able to make the step up to international football and Perth admits that it is something that needs to be taken into account.

"It is a massive step-up bossing games against Sligo, Dundalk, Finn Harps, to going somewhere like Wembley and bossing games," said Perth.

"It's two different things and we've got to be pragmatic about when we use Jack but I hope he gets his chance soon and a chance to shine. Maybe just not yet, maybe he needs to come into a game and see where that goes. It's difficult.

"I know the League of Ireland fan in me is shouting for him to get his chance. Alan Browne has a big opportunity in this window, as do Conor Hourihane and Jayson Molumby. There's a lot of talent in that area."

Kenny has yet to win a game since taking over from former manager Mick McCarthy but he has had limited time to work with the players due to the fixture havoc created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He has drawn two and lost two Nations League games while there was also a draw with Slovakia in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final but a penalty shootout broke Irish hearts on that front.

Winning the hearts and minds of Irish football supporters will be harder for Kenny to achieve the longer his team go without a win, or a goal.

For all their good play which has been evident, a Shane Duffy header is all they have to show for their efforts after 480 minutes of football but will Kenny be feeling pressure because of that?

"I'm not sure. If he was feeling pressure, the last thing you do is take on England who usually qualify [for tournaments] and play friendlies so well," replied Perth.

"Stephen is a glass-half-full man, he'll take all the positives. We had so many different opportunities to score, we should have scored. Hourihane should have scored and maybe Alan Browne should have scored.

"He's building a squad, he's changing a squad, he's changing the mindset. No one ever said it was going to be easy.

"I think there has to be a little bit of patience. I understand that patience will only last so long. He'll understand that. He'll want a confidence-boosting win at some stage. If we want to change how we play, we've got to give it time."



Read more about

Jack Byrne Republic Of Ireland Shamrock Rovers Stephen Kenny Vinny Perth

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