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Jack Byrne Ready To Thrive Under Weight Of Expectation Against AC Milan

Jack Byrne Ready To Thrive Under Weight Of Expectation Against AC Milan
By Gary Connaughton

Tonight is the big one.

AC Milan will take on Shamrock Rovers tonight in Tallaght Stadium, boasting a team that is filled with international star power. The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sandro Tonali, and Gianluigi Donnarumma are all likely to feature.

While the home team will not have quite such big names on their side, they do boast a number of internationals of their own.

The most recently capped player comes in the form of Jack Byrne, someone many expect will be relied heavily on if they are to pull off perhaps the biggest upset in Irish club football history.

Speaking to members of the media this week, Byrne said that while this will no doubt be a huge occasion, he and his teammates need to take the name of the opposition out of the equation.

It’s not everyday that AC Milan come over here, and it’s not every week Irish teams play in these big games. I think we need to take the AC Milan out of it and approach it as 11v11.

We’ve done our analysis on them, obviously it’s going to be weird for them watching clips of Aaron Greene running in behind and seeing how they can deal with Shamrock Rovers. For us, we are taking the AC Milan out of it and try to do well for the club...

It’s one of those things now, just one game and a knockout game. You don’t have a chance to feel the other team out, it’s straight in and winner takes all. It’s four cup finals, really, to try and get into the Europa League.

This seems like the perfect occasion for Byrne to showcase his obvious talents. He has been the best player in the League of Ireland since joining Shamrock Rovers last year, also earning his first senior international caps in 2019.

However, he was not part of Stephen Kenny's first Ireland squad. Much of that could have been down to timing, with the break in the League of Ireland season likely to have had a major impact.

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This would be the perfect stage for the 24-year old to show what he could bring to international fold. The player himself said he can't really view it that way.

I don't think I should be putting myself under pressure to think that I have to running the show against AC Milan to get into the international squad. I can't think like that.

It's probably not realistic, let's be honest about it. We don't play AC Milan every week either so you can't back it up the following week.

I know that I just need to do my own stuff and concentrate on myself, keep playing and playing well. I need to string together good performances consistently. If it's not enough, it's not enough. If it is enough I'd be proud to get the jersey back on again.

I just can't put myself under pressure to think that I need to run the show against AC Milan to get back in an Ireland squad. It would be the wrong mindset to be in.

 

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Image credit: Sportsfile

Despite this, Byrne believes he will thrive under the pressure, with the stands set to sport huge signs boasting about his class. He wouldn't have it any other way.

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What is pressure? It's a good thing to have. If those signs weren't up there, if it was about someone else I would be thinking 'that should be about me'. I want that pressure. It's just one of those things.

I like having that pressure, but it's not pressure to think in my own head that I should go out there and score a hat-trick against AC Milan. Football doesn't work like that...

You need to just think about the game and don't think about what can happen if we do win. We need to take the game as it comes. If they did win I think you'd have to open the pubs back up in Dublin for a few days.

See Also: Graham Burke Says The Pressure Is On AC Milan Ahead Of Europa League Tie

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