Jack Byrne said getting the chance to train with the Republic of Ireland senior squad was "a bonus" as he focuses his attentions on impressing with Noel King's U21s.
A 4-1 defeat to Group Two leaders Italy in Waterford on Thursday night dashed hopes of qualifying for the 2017 European Championships, but Byrne caught the eye again at the RSC, and is desperate to keep his star on the rise.
“Noel has been very good to me," Byrne told RTÉ Sport. "I owe it to him. He brought me into the (U21) squad when I was only 17. It’s a bonus I was with the senior squad, although I feel like I can hold my own up there.
"It was a bonus this week being in with them. I owed it to Noel to give a good performance when I came down and hopefully people will think I did that.
"Italy are a really good U21 team, they have a lot of Serie A experience. It is how it is. They have a bigger pool than we do to choose from so we’ll dust ourselves down and go again on Tuesday (against Slovenia) and we’re looking forward to it.
“At the moment I’m staying with the U21s so all I can do is keep doing what I do and keep working hard.”
The 19-year-old Manchester City midfielder is currently on loan at Dutch side SC Cambuur, turning heads in a side struggling in the Eredivisie.
King praised his charges' efforts against an impressive Italian outfit, and urged Byrne to keep putting his shoulder to the wheel as he looks to reach the top of the game.
“Jack is very good on the ball, we all know that," he said. "He’s a young player, he has a chance to make a good career for himself and we wish him all the best. He just needs to keep going, keep developing and hopefully he’ll make the breakthrough.
“We started quite well. They’re a very, very good team. It’s very difficult to take a 4-1 defeat. I thought we were competitive, I thought the lads gave everything they had, showed great signs, had a lot of possession.
"We’ll look at it again in the morning and then we’re heading off to Slovenia and we have to get going again."