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Manchester Journalist Outlines The Big Problem That's Waiting For Jack Byrne

Manchester Journalist Outlines The Big Problem That's Waiting For Jack Byrne
By Gary Reilly Updated

Jack Byrne is heading back to Manchester in a couple of months and he'll be greeted by not only some new faces but by a significantly different football club. The new crest may be the most obvious sign of a spring clean around the Etihad but as Pep Guardiola saunters in with his finely cut suits and effortlessly cool sweaters, things are bound to change.

And while that may yet be good news for Jack Byrne and Irish football, there's absolutely no guarantee that Byrne's quality will shine through in the big pond of the Premier League in the same way that it has for Cambuur.

Guardiola has never been one to stand in the way of youth, far from it in fact, but even if we accept that, it must be said that the odds are really stacked against Byrne from making his mark at his parent club. That situation has been outlined rather effectively in the Manchester Evening News this week.

Simon Bajkowski has looked at the fates of City's two shining lights out on loan this season in the form of Byrne and Belgian defender Jason Denayer and for, all their quality, the weight of recent history is really against them returning to City and carving out a first team place.

According to Bajkowski, City would rather their youngsters stayed in the Academy system right through to the senior squad but, as is the issue facing all the top clubs, there's not enough opportunity for genuinely competitive football below first team level in England so the next best option is to send a raft of players out on loan every season. And despite how well that may turn out, there's always going to be limitations to what can be achieved at the likes of Cambuur.

Like knights on a chess board, loanees are forced sideways with every forward move. Lack of exposure and opportunities is the price for regular football, and a more circuitous route to breaking into the first team means they run the risk of being taken out of the game completely.

However, it's more than just a case of 'out of sight, out of mind' for the likes of Byrne. Unlike Ireland, City really aren't relying on the 19 year old to fulfil his potential at the highest level. He's one of any number of talented young midfielders that they can call upon and the fact that at least two young midfielders have already made their Premier League debuts this season ensures that Byrne returns to the City Football Academy, if not fully back at square one, then not too far away from it.

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Both [Denayer and Byrne] look to have bright futures in the game, but they will find a queue waiting at the CFA to make it over the bridge.

Does Byrne come back into the squad ahead of Manu Garcia and Bersant Celina? Rony Lopes looked promising in his early time at City but returned from a decent spell in Ligue 1 to find the door to the first team more closed than before.

Marcos 'Rony' Lopes is a very good example in all this. At 18, he went out on loan to Lille, performed incredibly well and returned to City with his stock significantly higher than when he left. However, City decided to cut ties with him when a hefty offer came in from Monaco and now he's since returned to Lille on loan having failed to break into Leonardo Jardim's team.

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This was an 18 year old who did everything he could while out on loan in a top European league and, rather than give him a chance on his return, City decided to sell him to Monaco for a hefty profit. It was a similar situation with Denis Suarez who was sold to Barcelona in 2013. The culture around City is one of instant success or bust and young players, as impressive as they may be, are easy to sell than they are to mould.

Perhaps Byrne does have something more to offer than those players and perhaps Guardiola will be more inclined to offer him a place in the first team but City are going to be looking for instant success and blooding the likes of Byrne in the Premier League is unlikely to be the way they go about that.

Ideally, he'll return to City this summer and impress Guardiola immediately but the reality of the situation is that, having proved his worth out on loan, Byrne may yet be best served by moving away from the pond in search of first team football as soon as possible.

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See also: What Ireland's Euro 2016 Squad Looks Like After The All-Important Friendlies

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