SCOUTING REPORT | Byrne's goalscoring form impresses McCarthy
Byrne is looking good for the UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off squad to be announced by the Irish boss on Friday ahead of the March 26th tie in Slovakia.
Senior team Head Performance Analyst Ger Dunne has already sent footage of Byrne’s display and goal in his team’s 3-2 win at Sligo on Saturday night to the FAI coaching team.
And his Ireland manager saw enough of Byrne against Dundalk a week earlier to know he can add something to the Euro 2020 play-off challenge in Bratislava.
“If Jack is in the squad on Friday – and there’s every chance he will be – then he will be in on form,” Mick told FAI.ie
“I was impressed with him in Tallaght against Dundalk and he carried that form into the game in Sligo so he is playing consistently well at present.
“Jack’s been with us for the past year now and he is developing as a player as we want him to. He has a spark about him and can do something a little bit different. That could be very handy in a tight play-off game.”
Josh Cullen is another who is pushing the right buttons ahead of the trip to Slovakia at the end of the month.
The Irish midfielder was at the heart of Charlton’s midfield as the Irish boss watched him in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough.
“After his injury problems earlier in the season, Josh is now back to fitness and back to his best as he showed me again on Saturday,” added the Ireland manager.
“He is very close to a first competitive cap and has been pushing for a place in my team for some time now, never mind the squad.
“Terry Connor watched Glenn Whelan control the game for Fleetwood at Ipswich last week so we are very well served in that central midfield role at the moment.”
Irish goalscorers were few and far between at the weekend but Scott Hogan again pushed his claims for Slovakia with another goal for loan club Birmingham.
“That’s seven goals in nine games now,” remarked the manager. “Terry has seen a lot of Scott in recent weeks and his confidence is sky high. That’s not a surprise with the way he has been scoring goals for Birmingham.
“This latest loan move has worked out really well for Scott and for Ireland as well. If he brings those goalscoring boots to Slovakia we will all be happy.”
Set to name a 23-man squad on Friday, Mick expects to have both Enda Stevens and James McClean fit for selection in Bratislava.
He stated: “James has told me he is very close to a return to action with West Brom after his knee injury while Enda was taken off early in the second half of Sheffield United’s 1-0 win over Norwich on Saturday with some tightness in his calf.
“They are both confident they will be fit for the play-off and that’s good to hear.”